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Happy Belated International Women’s Day! I took the day off in honor of that day. Continuing in the celebration of Women’s History Month, I wanted to recognise one of my she-roes, Fannie Lou Hamer. If you’re just joining, you can start here.
When I shared my list of favorite podcasts, I spoke about listening to a biographical retelling of the life and work of Fannie Lou Hamer. Talk about a woman who saw a problem and did not wait for permission to address it.
Who Is Fannie Lou Hamer?
Born in Mississippi in 1917, Fannie was the baby of 20 children to Lou Ella and James Townsend. At age 12, she left school to help her family pick cotton. Raised in poverty and raised by sharecroppers, Fannie knew firsthand about adversity and lack of opportunity based on the color of her skin.
Never to forget where we came from and always praise the bridges that carried us over.Fannie Lou Hamer
Why Fannie Lou Hamer?
- This fearless warrior for freedom and justice led a voting registration drive in the face of fierce opposition when African Americans were denied the right to vote.
- She pushed boundaries by leading a “sit-in” in a “whites only” area of a bus station.
- Being brutally beaten in a jailhouse did not deter her from continuing with the struggle for voting rights.
- Her televised speech about racism in the South had upstaged President Lyndon B. Johnson’s plans to speak to the American audience. I understand her audacity peeved him.
- She is an unsung civil rights icon in that she paved the way for women to run for political office.
Here’s my favorite quote from Fannie Lou Hamer:
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.Fannie Lou Hamer
If you want to learn more about Fannie Lou Hamer, pick up a copy of This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer (Civil Rights and Struggle) by Kay Mills. It has been touted as one of the best biographies on Fannie Lou Hamer.