by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)
This is Fannie Lou Hamer. A Mississippi plantation worker turned activist in the 1960s, who, from her own personal desire to claim her constitutional right to vote, was fired from her job, threatened by white supremacists and beaten while in police custody.
Hamer never stopped – she worked with other activists in her church and volunteers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and traveled county to county to register other Black people to vote.
Hamer formed the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and demanded to represent her state at the 1964 Democratic Convention.
Hamer fought for voting rights, education rights, economic rights (she formed the Freedom Farm Collective to fight for redistribution of wealth from usurious sharecropping) and even ran for Senate.
She was not rich or traditionally educated or well-connected — Fannie was a person who saw injustice, got active and got involved. Among other microcosms of actionable wisdom, she is famous for the quotes, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired” and “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free” – the latter of which I proudly wear on my Fannie Lou Hamer T-shirt.
Hamer passed in 1977 after years of dealing with serious health issues, but her legacy as an outspoken and effective activist, organizer and champion for equal rights will never be forgotten.
In fact, it was announced a few days ago that rapper and activist Common is producing a biographical movie on Hamer based on her 1967 autobiography To Praise Our Bridges and the book God’s Long Summer by Charles Marsh, which chronicles of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
You can also read more about Hamer here: https://snccdigital.org/people/fannie-lou-hamer/ and here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fannie_Lou_Hamer or read her speeches: https://bookshop.org/books/the-speeches-of-fannie-lou-hamer-to-tell-it-like-it-is/9781617038365
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