On October 6, 1917, Fannie Lou Hamer was born in Montgomery County, Mississppi. Hamer is a prolific figure within the Civil Rights Movement. Hamer became involved with the Civil Rights Movement after meeting civil rights activist that encouraged blacks to register to vote. Please continue to read Fannie Lou Hamer biography, and watch the brief documentary playlist below!
Hamer dedicated her life to the fight for civil rights, working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. This organization was comprised mostly of African-American students who engaged in acts of civil disobedience to fight racial segregation and injustice in the South. These acts often were met with violent responses by angry whites. During the course of her activist career, Hamer was threatened, arrested, beaten, and shot at. She was severely injured in 1963 in a Winona, Mississippi jail. She and two other activists were taken in by police after attending a training workshop. Hamer was beaten so badly that she suffered permanent kidney damage.
In 1964, Hamer helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which was established in opposition to her state’s all-white delegation to that year’s Democratic convention. She brought the civil rights struggle in Mississippi to the attention of the entire nation during a televised session at the convention.
The following year, Hamer ran for Congress in Mississippi, but was unsuccessful in her bid.
Along with her political activism, Hamer worked to help the poor and families in need in her Mississippi community. She also set up organizations to increase business opportunities for minorities and to provide childcare and other family services. She helped establish the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971.
“I feel sorry for anybody that could let hate wrap them up. Ain’t no such thing as I can hate anybody and hope to see God’s face.” -Fannie Lou Hamer