Bellamy Powell was born in Pennsylvania and served in the United States Air Force. After that she accepted a position as the leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee's Selma, Alabama field office. In her time there she served as a secretary, typist, and media specialist. Inspired by the belief that she should make the same commitments that she asked others to make, she went on to work in the field directly, participating in organizing efforts in Greene County, Alabama. On the subject, Bellamy Powell said, "I was not looking for more danger, but I really believed that I shouldn't do less than what I would ask others to do."
In addition to her work with SNCC, Bellamy Powell was a prolific photographer who captured many gatherings of friends and family members. Her colleagues remember her sense of perspective in particular. Highlander Folk School office manager Kristi Coleman, who worked with Bellamy Powell, said of her photographs, "It was what we are. I didn't even know she was taking the picture. Her pictures were her words."
Bellamy Powell later served on the staff of the Institute of the Black World. She was also a founding organizer of the National Anti-Klan Network and a co-founder of the We Shall Overcome Fund. In this role she worked with the Highlander Folk School, a social justice leadership and training center, for more than fifty years.
For more on the life of Fay Bellamy Powell, click here.
For more on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, click here.