She was born in Selma, Alabama. As a child Bettie Mae Fikes traveled the country with her mother, a gospel singer. While she was in high school in the early 1960s, Fikes became involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Selma, emerging as a music leader. She was jailed for several weeks in 1963 for participating in a protest for voting rights. Fikes later became a professional blues singer. Her album How Blue Can You Get? Live at Ancient Lake Gardens (Earthen Vessel Productions) was released earlier this year. Sojourners assistant editor Jeannie Choi spoke with Fikes in March during a congressional civil rights pilgrimage in Alabama with The Faith and Politics Institute.