ChangeMakers Podcast: Dwania Kyles, Co-Founder of The Memphis 13 Foundation – Approaching Healing and Leading with Love


Host Jeremy C. Park talks with Dwania Kyles, a Civil Rights Advocate who was one of “The Memphis 13” youth involved in the integration of the Memphis City public schools on October 3, 1961, who shares some of her powerful story, perspective and personal experiences as part of this historical event.


During the interview, Dwania talks about her parents, the important role her mother and women played in the Civil Rights Movement, seeing a cross burning in their yard, and how she approaches healing and leading with love to take the lessons of her past to become a spark for building community and connectedness through her efforts today with The Memphis 13 Foundation.

Visit to learn more about The Memphis 13 Foundation and to learn more about Dwania Kyles.

About Dwania Kyles:

Dwania Kyles, Civil Rights Advocate, Wellness Consultant and Breath Coach, is an alum of The Memphis 13, subject of the highly touted documentary by the same name chronicling the desegregation of Memphis City Public Schools in 1961 by thirteen, 5 and 6-year-old girls and boys, (dubbed “the smallest pioneers” of the Civil Rights Movement), in answer to the 1954 landmark decision by the U. S. Supreme Court on Brown v. Board of Education.

Ms. Kyles is also the eldest daughter of pioneer civil-rights activists, the late Gwendolyn Kyles and Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles, subject of the ’09 Oscar & ’10 Emmy nominated documentary, The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306, that gives voice to her father’s memories, who on April 4, 1968, was the only other person on the balcony, with Dr. Martin Luther King when he was fatally shot, as she, her mother and siblings were prepared to receive Dr. King and the SCLC staff at their home for dinner.

An innocent participant of these two historical, yet traumatic events as a 5 and 12-year-old, it stands to reason why Ms. Kyles’ commitment to helping others connect or reconnect with their inner healer has been a lifelong passion. That same commitment paved the way on her personal journey to health and healing over the past 40 years.

As a wellness coach and educator, she seeks to inform on why the power of the breath, the belief system, laughter, and self-love are the first line of defense when on the path of true healing.

As a result of her coaching, programs, workshops, and speaking engagements, participants of all ages who stay in action are empowered with practical tools which allows them to connect with their inner healer, reverse illnesses, stress less, and experience healthier, happier lives with more peace of mind.


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