Fredricka Rivers was involved in the civil rights movement.

Rivers died on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. She was 79.

She was a resident of Sewell, N.J. She was born March 4, 1934 to Fred and Julia Rivers in Charleston, S.C. She was the oldest child in a family of three children. Their father died while Rivers was a very small child. Her mother married Willie Hughie, a devoted stepfather who reared her and her brothers until adulthood.

At an early age, Rivers became a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Charleston, S.C. and was an active member of the adult choir, Sunday school, usher board, Bible study, mother’s board, missionary board and church choir.

She began her early education at the historic Charles H. Simonton School — the first public school for African-Americans in Charleston, S.C. She distinguished herself early on as a high-achieving, literate student who completed grades first through seventh.

Rivers attended Burke High School and was active in school programs and clubs such as the Ready, Set, Teach Program. Her intelligence and commitment to social justice resulted in her active involvement in the civil rights movement that began in 1950.

She joined students, teachers, and ministers and marched against Jim Crow and educational inequality. During this era, Southern schools were segregated and schools where Black students attended were inferior to the facilities where white students attended school.

While a senior, Rivers was noted and honored for her achievements by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and presented to society at the annual Debutante Cotillion Ball. After high school graduation, she attended the Pioneer Business Institute and majored in secretarial studies. She graduated in 1952.

After graduating from business school, Rivers joined the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and was responsible for the security, storage, dissemination and destruction of criminal records.

In 1956, she married Allen Poinesette and in 1958, one daughter was born to this union.

She loved to travel and the highlights of her travels were visits to Africa and Haiti. She loved to read novels, magazines, and newspapers. Her family said she was an outstanding singer. She valued fitness and health food and took care of herself by eating nutritious meals she prepared. Her family said she was a deep thinker and known for intelligent discourse when talking to friends and colleagues.

She is survived by her daughter Sheila Poinesette of Brooklyn, N.Y; brothers Saint Julian Rivers of North Charleston, S.C. and John Rivers of Detroit, Mich.; sister-in-law Barbara Rivers of Detroit, Mich. and other relatives and friends.

Services will be held on Feb. 27 at Farnelli Funeral Home, 504 N. Main St., Williamstown, N.J. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park, Hurffville, N.J.

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