Join Charlene Butts Ligon as she discusses her book about her mother, Fearless: How a Poor Virginia Seamstress Took on Jim Crow, Beat the Poll Tax, and Changed Her City Forever, which tells the story of Evelyn T. Butts, a poor seamstress who became a forceful and courageous voting rights champion and won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that abolished the poll tax. Charlene Butts Ligon reveals the remarkable story of Evelyn Butts as a mother and active citizen who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of family members and neighbors, while also joining or leading battles against discrimination in employment, public schools, neighborhood services and voter access. Though Norfolk, Virginia, and its environs are the backdrop for the story of Evelyn Butts’s life and activism, there are lessons that can apply to all communities and readers of all ages. There are always new obstacles, even in voting rights, the poll tax was an important part of American history that should not be forgotten because we must stay vigilant about continued attempts at voter suppression, which keeps coming back in new forms.
Charlene Butts Ligon is the daughter of Evelyn Butts. She is a retired Air Force master sergeant and lives in Bellevue, Nebraska, with her husband Robert. In 2017, she started her own publishing company Smallwood Charlotte Press. She is an entrepreneur, publisher, and author. She is the chair of the Sarpy County Democratic Party and secretary of the Nebraska Democratic Party and the author of Fearless: How a Poor Virginia Seamstress Took on Jim Crow, Beat the Poll Tax, and Changed Her City Forever.