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Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer

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Published by: Timothy on Jul 18, 2013
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Fannie Lou Hamer 
 
Fannie Lou Hamer was one of the greatest human rights activists in human history. She led a legacy ofdiverse activism in the world.
Her legacy is very huge. She was born in 1917 in Montgomery,Mississippi. She was the youngest of 20 children. Her family moved into Sunflower County,Mississippi in 1919.
Her family worked on the plantation of E.W. Brandon. Hamer picked cotton. By theage of 13, Fannie Lou Hamer picked 200-300 pounds on a daily basis. She later became an activist.During the 1950's, Hamer attended several annual conferences of the Regional Council of NegroLeadership or the RCNL in the all black town of Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Dr. T. R.M. Howard was a civilrights leader and a wealthy black entrepreneur. He headed the RCNL. The RCNL conferences featuredentertainers like Mahalia Jackson (She was pound for pound the greatest Gospel singer in my opinion.She was a great friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and she was active in supporting the civil rightsmovement as well) including Thurgood Marshall, and Rep. Charles Diggs of Michigan. They readilydiscussed issues of voting rights and other civil rights issues. She or Fannie Lou Hamer was forciblysterilized unfortunately in 1961 by a white doctor as part of the Mississippi's plan to reduce the number ofpoor black Americans in the state. So, eugenics is an old enemy of our people. She was also inspired tofight for equality and justice by witnessing a sermon made by Rev. James Bevel on August 23, 1962.
 
Rev. Bevel was an organizer for SNCC or the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was anassociate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He gave his sermon in Ruleville, Mississippi and appealed thefolks to register to vote. Institutionalized racism, harassment, murder, assaults, and even lynchings cameto those black human beings who registered to vote in the South. Hamer was the first volunteer to registerfrom that meeting.
She later said, "I guess if I'd had any sense, I'd have been a little scared -but what was the point of being scared? The only thing they could do was kill me, and itkinda seemed like they'd been trying to do that a little bit at a time since I couldremember."
In August 31, Fannie Lou Hamer came to Indianola, Mississippi to register. She wasreligious. Therefore, she began to sing Christian hymns like
"Go Tell It on the Mountain
" (mymother loves that song. Even my mother and father loves a lot of Gospel music) and
"This LittleLight of Mine
" to the group as a means for them to bolster their resolve. Hamer believed that the civilrights struggle was not only a political struggle for freedom, but a deeply spiritual one as well.
Forfreedom is a precious gift from God. Henceforth, evil ought to be opposed with alldue diligence
. She expressed a lot of courage in her life, especially in Indianola. SNCC organizer BobMoses wanted to meet with Fannie Lou Hamer because of her activism.Fannie Lou Hamer was jailed in Winona, Mississippi on a false charge. Her and her colleagues werebeaten brutally by the police almost to the point of death. This happened in June 9, 1963. She wasreleased in June 12, yet this still never deterred
this strong Black Sister at all
.She continued tohave voter registration drives like the "Freedom Ballot Campaign", a mock election in 1963, andthe "Freedom Summer" initiative in 1964. She was known to the volunteers of Freedom Summer - most ofwhom were young, white, and from northern states - as a motherly figure who believed that the civil rightseffort should be multi-racial in nature. Sammy Young Jr. and Wendell Paris were allies and worked underFannie Lou Hamer. Sammy was assassinated in Tuskegee in 1966. Paris continued to work as acommunity activist in Tuskegee and Mississippi. She is famous for her courage stand for equalrepresentation at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. In the summer of 1964, the MississippiFreedom Democratic Party of the Freedom Democrats wanted to challenge the Mississippi's all-white andanti-civil rights delegation to the Democratic National Convention of that year (as not representative of allMississippians). Hamer was elected Vice-Chair. The Freedom Democrats voiced the concerns andexpressed words on the plight of African Americans in Mississippi. They wanted representation that couldchallenge LBJ's nomination process. The reason was that many other Southern delegations could breaktoward Republican challenger Barry Goldwater. That means in turn that he would almost certainly losethose states' electoral votes in the election.This event is a parallel to our time in the 21
st
century. There have been many legitimate rallies against theZimmerman verdict. Many folks want justice for Trayvon Martin. Although, we need to be careful that weare not stirred up into worshipping the Democratic Party. We know what the GOP is all about. Enoughsaid. The GOP is filled with controversies, bigots, anti-immigrant extremists, and other reactionaries(these are enemies of our people & other fair minded, progressive human beings). Now, we areindependent, so we should be independent of even the Democratic establishment. The Democraticestablishment has been responsible for tragic events in our communities just like the Republicanestablishment. In the final analysis, our social and economic injustices should be addressed includingracial oppression.
We ought to be politically Independent and be free to think and toact in service to JUSTICE. We are nation filled with unjust laws and unjust jurydecisions, so we should fight for truth and justice.
Fannie Lou Hamer was shown in the media. This angered Johnson and this piece of work Johnson calledher a name. So, in the final analysis, no President gave us our freedom. God did and the efforts of humanbeings did via blood, sweat, and tears. Hamer and the rest of the MFDP told the Convention about theirissues that they have encountered with registration. She suffered a lot. Her speech was shown uneditedin later news programs despite Johnson's efforts to divert press coverage away from Hamer's testimony.Hamer refused to compromise. Hamer was not part of later negotiations. A new compromise wasattempted to be reached.
The Convention would select the two delegates to be seated, for fear theMFDP would appoint Hamer. In the end, the MFDP rejected the compromise, but had changed the
 
debate to the point that the Democratic Party adopted a clause which demanded equality ofrepresentation from their states' delegations in 1968
. This was an important event since it not onlyshowed the fallibility of the Democrats, but it outlined that still representation is still under attack then andnow. Fannie Lou Hamer continued to fight for local civil rights causes and the Freedom Democrats. Sheran for Congress in 1964 and 1965. She opposed the Vietnam War.
SNCC had a great role in the Civil Rights Movement. SNCC stands for the Student NonviolentCoordinating Committee. It was created in April of 1960. SNCC was the younger, new wave of civilrights activists in that time period. Folks were tired of Southern discrimination and Jim Crow. TheSupreme Court ruled that Jim Crow segregation was unconstitutional in law. Yet, it was a reality inmany locations of America during the 1960's. This caused direct action protests, civil disobedience,voter registration drives, and other activism by SNCC including other human beings. SNCC wascreated after February 1, 1960. That was the day when 4 students at North Carolina A&T StateUniversity in Greensboro decided to sit in a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter and demandservice. This caused a change in history. 6 years before that time, the Supreme Court ruledsegregation unconstitutional in the landmark Brown V. Board Education case. Apartheid style JimCrow law imposed segregation in every aspect of public life in the South (that included movietheaters, swimming pools, parks, restaurants, buses, schools, government services, and everythingelse). The Brown ruling established the idea that segregated facilities couldn't be equal. So,segregation was unconstitutional. This decision had to be accompanied with massive desegregation.In 1957, African American students tried to attend Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in1957. They faced so much violent opposition that Republican Eisenhower had to send in soldiersfrom the Army's 101st Airborne Division to protect the students. New black Southerners came onthe scene by 1960 since little desegregation was occurring. Weeks after the February North Carolinasit-in, thousands of students have similar sit-ins across the South. By April, student activists frommany cities wanted to come together to discuss the new movement and how it could bebroadened. Ella Baker (or the executive director in Dr. Martin Luther King's Southern ChristianLeadership Conference or the SCLC) facilitated the founding meeting of SNCC.Ella Baker was one of the greatest civil rights leaders in history. Baker was an advisor to SNCC. Shewanted SNCC to make its own decision and not subordinate itself to SCLC or other establishedgroups. SNCC worked in the Freedom Rides (or when Black and white activists would sit together insegregated interstate buses as they traveled from city to city in the South as a means to protestsegregation in the South). The first Freedom Ride was from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans. Thiscomes after the 1960 Supreme Court ruling in
Boynton v. Virginia
that legally desegregatedinterstate transit. CORE launched the Freedom Rides (CORE stand for Congress on Racial Equality. Itwas based in the North). The CORE activists were so much beaten that the original Freedom Ridersstop their trip in Birmingham, Alabama. SNCC leaders took over the Freedom Riders crusade. DianeNash was a SNCC leader in Nashville. She argued that the movement would be set back if the racistswere able to stop the Freedom Riders. She organized a contingent of students to go to Birminghamto resume the journey. Many students were arrested by Bull Connor when they came intoBirmingham. They sang songs in jail. The Freedom Riders were attacked again by racists includingreporters. This caused an international spotlight on Jim Crow. Many SNCC chapters grew all overthe South. They were involved in registering black Americans in Mississippi to vote. SNCC ultimatelyspearheaded what the organization named Mississippi Freedom Summer, a campaign in 1964 toregister Blacks to vote and mobilize a challenge to the racist Mississippi Democratic Party. Students

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