February 04, 2023

Black History Month - Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie was an American voting and women's rights activist, community organizer, and leader in the civil rights movement.

She was the co-founder and vice-chair of the Freedom Democratic Party. Fannie Lou Hamer was born in 1917, the 20th child of Lou Ella and James Lee Townsend, sharecroppers east of the Mississippi Delta. She first joined her family in the cotton fields at the age of six. Although she managed to complete several years of school, by adolescence she was picking hundreds of pounds of cotton a day. In the early 1940s, she married Perry Hamer, known as Pap, and worked alongside him at W.D. Marlow’s plantation near Ruleville, in Sunflower County. Hamer’s ability to read and write earned her the job of timekeeper, a less physically demanding and more prestigious job within the sharecropping system.

The forced sterilization was one of the moments that set Hamer on the path to the forefront of the Mississippi Civil Rights movement.

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