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 Fannie Lou Hamer

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Fannie Lou Hamer

  • Birth 6 Oct 1917 Montgomery County, Mississippi, USA
  • Death 14 Mar 1977 Mound Bayou, Bolivar County, Mississippi, USA
  • Burial Ruleville, Sunflower County, Mississippi, USA
  • Memorial ID 19859

Social Reformer. Dedicated and courageous civil rights activist. She was born in Sunflower County, Mississippi, being the youngest of twenty children and the granddaughter of a slave. After attending a meeting and hearing the Reverend James Bevel and James Forman speak, she became involved in the Civil Rights movement, particularly voter-registration. Her activities caused her family the loss of their home, and she was arrested, threatened, and beaten on more than one occasion. In 1963 she was beaten and jailed in Winona, Mississippi, when some members of her group got off the bus to use a cafe restroom. The local police told them to leave and one of the members wrote down the license number of the police car which resulted in the arrest and beating of her and four other people. While jailed, the officers offered to let them go free, but Fannie Hamer and her comrades knew that the officers would kill them, saying that they tried to escape. In response to this event she said, ". . . I used to think the Justice Department was just what it said--justice. I asked one of those men, 'Have y'all got a Justice Department or a Injustice Department?' That's the way I feel now. They didn't investigate what happened to us--they investigated us. So I tell people I don't want no equal rights any more. I'm fightin' for human rights. I don't want to become equal to men like them that beat us. I don't want to become the kind of person that would kill you because of your color." That following year as the field secretary of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (a political party she help organize), she spoke on national televison at the Democratic National Convention. She established a Head Start program in Sunflower County and assisted in bringing factory jobs, with on-site day care centers, to the area. Her famous saying, which expressed her views on the social injustices facing Black Americans, was "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired." Her involvement in the struggle for human rights attracted the attention of many African governments. The government of Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea and other West African countries invited her to visit their nations. She received a much warmer welcome in Africa than in Washington D.C.

Bio by: Warrick L. Barrett


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 28 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 19859
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Fannie Lou Hamer (6 Oct 1917–14 Mar 1977), Find A Grave Memorial no. 19859, citing Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden, Ruleville, Sunflower County, Mississippi, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .