Cleopatra Kennedy

Cleopatra Kennedy was one of the original members of the African American Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights Choir, which was launched in 1959 by Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth to serve as the musical voice of the Movement in Birmingham and to sing at the many mass meetings that were being held in churches in the city during the height of the Movement. She was also a “foot soldier” during the Birmingham campaign (the selective buying campaign) and went to jail after participating in the Children’s Crusade in the city in 1963; she experienced the fire hoses, police dogs, and all of the rest of Bull Connor’s mistreatment of the demonstrators. She was a celebrated soloist in the ACMHR choir and often sang before or after Dr. King spoke at the meetings and elsewhere. She went on to become a back-up singer for Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and many others.

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