In Memory of Mamie King-Chalmers

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 12, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. TLAIB. Madam Speaker, today I rise in recognition of civil rights trailblazer Mamie King-Chalmers, a longtime resident of Detroit in Michigan's 13th District Strong, as we honor her memory.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Mamie King-Chalmers witnessed and experienced violence at the forefront of the civil rights movement. Unable to bear the injustice of life in the Jim Crow era southern United States, Ms. King-Chalmers was moved to fight racism for a better future for all. The images of snarling dogs and fire hoses aimed at nonviolent protesters are the symbols of the vitriol of that time, and it was an all too real experience for Ms. King-Chalmers. Her image was captured in an iconic photo depicting her as one of three Black people forced to brace themselves against a building while being blasted with water from a firehose in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. The photo appeared in Life magazine.

Eventually, Mamie King-Chalmers, along with her husband Reverend Raymond Gill, moved and settled with their family in Detroit. She always shared the unvarnished truth of her life during that violent time. As a civil rights advocate, she spoke out about the need for change. She was courageous and unwavering in her commitment.

Please join me in recognizing Mamie King-Chalmers' advocacy in the fight for justice as we honor her legacy. May she rest in power.