Money, Politics, and Saving Our Democracy Banner

Sections
Home » Issues » Stand Up to Corporate Power » Americans Who Tell the Truth :: Fannie Lou Hamer

Get a FREE Issue. Yes! I want to try YES! Magazine

Nonprofit. Independent. Subscriber-supported. DONATE. How you can support our work.

YES! by Email
Join over 78,000 others already signed up for FREE YES! news.
[SAMPLE]

Town Hall Sidebar

The YES! ChicoBag(R). Full-size tote that fits in your pocket!

 

Americans Who Tell the Truth :: Fannie Lou Hamer

Logo
spacer
Edward Abbey thumbnail picspacerMuhammad Ali thumbnail picspacerSusan B. Anthony thumbnail pic
AbbeyspacerAlispacerAnthony
spacer
Ella Baker thumbnail picspacerJames Baldwin thumbnail picspacerDavid Barsamian thumbnail pic
BakerspacerBaldwinspacerBarsamian
spacer
Medea Benjamin thumbnail picspacerWendell Berry thumbnail picspacerGrace Lee Boggs thumbnail pic
BenjaminspacerBerryspacerBoggs
spacer
Judy Bonds thumbnail picspacerFather Roy Bourgeois thumbnail picspacerBetty Burkes thumbnail pic
BondsspacerBourgeoisspacerBurkes
spacer
Smedley Butler thumbnail picspacerRachel Carson thumbnail picspacerMajora Carter thumbnail pic
ButlerspacerCarsonspacerCarter
Cesar Chavez thumbnail picspacerShirley Chisholm thumbnail picspacerNoam Chomsky thumbnail pic
ChavezspacerChisholmspacerChomsky
spacer
William Sloane Coffin thumbnail picspacerRachel Corrie thumbnail picspacerOssie Davis thumbnail pic
CoffinspacerCorriespacerDavis
spacer
Eugene Debs thumbnail picspacerFrederick Douglass thumbnail picspacerW.E.B. DuBois thumbnail pic
DebsspacerDouglassspacerDuBois
spacer
Marian Wright Edelman thumbnail picspacerDwight Eisenhower thumbnail picspacerRalph Ellison thumbnail pic
EdelmanspacerEisenhowerspacerEllison
spacer
Paul Farmer thumbnail picspacerRoss Gelbspan thumbnail picspacerStan Goff thumbnail pic
FarmerspacerGelbspanspacerGoff
spacer
Emma Goldman thumbnail picspacerAmy Goodman thumbnail picspacerGranny D (Doris Haddock) thumbnail pic
GoldmanspacerGoodmanspacerGranny D
spacer
Richard Grossman thumbnail picspacerWoody Guthrie thumbnail picspacerFannie Lou Hamer thumbnail pic
GrossmanspacerGuthriespacerHamer
spacer
Harry Hay thumbnail picspacerJim Hightower thumbnail picspacerLangston Hughes thumbnail pic
HayspacerHightowerspacerHughes
spacer
Pat Humphries thumbnail picspacerZora Neale Hurston thumbnail picspacerMolly Ivins thumbnail pic
HumphriesspacerHurstonspacerIvins
spacer
Derrick Jensen thumbnail picspacerMother Jones thumbnail picspacerVan Jones thumbnail pic
JensenspacerJonesspacerJones
spacer
Helen Keller thumbnail picspacerKathy Kelly thumbnail picspacerMarjorie Kelly thumbnail pic
KellerspacerKellyspacerKelly
spacer
Robert F. Kennedy thumbnail picspacerMartin Luther King thumbnail picspacerJonathan Kozol thumbnail pic
KennedyspacerKingspacerKozol
spacer
Dennis Kucinich thumbnail picspacerWinona LaDuke thumbnail picspacerDorothea Lange thumbnail pic
KucinichspacerLaDukespacerLange
spacer
Frances Moore Lappe thumbnail picspacerAbraham Lincoln thumbnail picspacerJoanne Macy thumbnail pic
LappéspacerLincolnspacerMacy
spacer
Perry Mann thumbnail picspacerNatasha Mayers thumbnail picspacerBill McKibben thumbnail pic
MannspacerMayersspacerMcKibben
spacer
Cynthia McKinney thumbnail picspacerArthur Miller thumbnail picspacerBill Moyers thumbnail pic
McKinneyspacerMillerspacerMoyers
spacer
spacer
John Muir thumbnail picspacerCarlos Munoz Jnr. thumbnail picspacerRalph Nader thumbnail pic
MuirspacerMunozspacerNader
spacer
Scott Nearing thumbnail picspacerRosa Parks thumbnail picspacerUtah Phillips thumbnail pic
NearingspacerParksspacerPhillips
spacer
Jeanette Rankin thumbnail picspacerPaul Robeson thumbnail picspacerEleanor Roosevelt thumbnail pic
RankinspacerRobesonspacerRoosevelt
spacer
David Rovics thumbnail picspacerPete Seeger thumbnail picspacerCindy Sheehan thumbnail pic
RovicsspacerSeegerspacerSheehan
spacer
Lateefah Simon thumbnail picspacerSamantha Smith thumbnail picspacerElizabeth Cady Stanton thumbnail pic
SimonspacerSmithspacerStanton
spacer
Emma Tenayuca thumbnail picspacerStuds Terkel thumbnail picspacerHelen Thomas thumbnail pic
TenayucaspacerTerkelspacerThomas
spacer
Hugh Thompson thumbnail picspacerHenry David Thoreau thumbnail picspacerSojourner Truth thumbnail pic
ThompsonspacerThoreauspacerTruth
spacer
Harriet Tubman thumbnail picspacerMark Twain thumbnail picspacerAlice Waters thumbnail pic
TubmanspacerTwainspacerWaters
spacer
Ida B. Wells thumbnail picspacerPaul Wellstone thumbnail picspacerWalt Whitman thumbnail pic
WellsspacerWellstonespacerWhitman
spacer
Judy Wicks thumbnail picspacerJody Williams thumbnail picspacerTerry Tempest Williams thumbnail pic
WicksspacerWilliamsspacerWilliams
spacer
Diane Wilson thumbnail picspacerTilly Woodward thumbnail picspacerAnn Wright thumbnail pic
WilsonspacerWoodwardspacerWright
spacer
Malcolm X thumbnail picspacerChief Joseph Hinmton Yalektit thumbnail picspacerLily Yeh thumbnail pic
Malcolm XspacerYalektitspacerYeh
spacer
Howard Zinn thumbnail picspacer
Zinnspacer
spacer
spacer
Robert Shetterly's portrait of Fannie Lou Hamer
spacer
“Sometimes it seem like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I'll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom. I'm not backing off.”
spacer
Fannie Lou Hamer
spacer
36 of 100
spacer

Sharecropper, Civil Rights Activist(1917—1977)

Fannie Lou Hamer, a Mississippi sharecropper, changed this nation’s perspective on democracy. She worked for political, social and economic equality for herself and all African Americans. She fought to integrate the national Democratic party, and became one of the first black delegates to a presidential convention.

Fannie Lou Townsend was born in Montgomery County, Mississippi, in 1917, the youngest of 20 children. By the age of six she was working in the cotton fields. Although she dropped out of school at age twelve, she continued her education with Bible study. At twelve, her parents accumulated enough money to rent a farm and buy mules and tools for farming. A white neighbor poisoned their mules, and they were forced into even greater debt. On the plantation where she worked she met her future husband, Perry Hamer. Her Christian faith was a source of strength for her throughout her life, and she became known in the civil rights movement as a captivating preacher and singer, inspiring others with her moral and physical courage.

In 1962, the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee (SNCC) came to Hamer's town and encouraged blacks to register as voters. Hamer volunteered, even though she had not previously known that it was a Constitutional Right for blacks to vote. After registering herself and working with SNCC, she lost her job, received death threats, and was severely beaten by the police in an effort to intimidate her. Hamer helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) in 1964 because blacks were not allowed in the all-white regular party delegation. Although Lyndon Johnson refused to seat the MFDP, the Democrats agreed that in the future no delegation would be seated from a state where anyone was illegally denied the right to vote.

Hamer also worked towards achieving financial independence for blacks. In 1969 she helped to start Freedom Farms Corporation, which lent land to blacks until they had enough money to buy it. She worked with the National Council of Negro Women, organized food co-operatives, and helped convene the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1970.

Though Hamer wanted children, a white doctor had sterilized her without permission, so she adopted daughters instead. In her last years, she received many honors and awards. Engraved on her headstone in her hometown of Ruleville, Mississippi, are her famous words: "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired."

spacer
See the full set of Robert Shetterly's portraits at www.americanswhotellthetruth.org.

Tools for Teaching: see the acompanying curriculum materials with suggestions on how to use the portraits and biographies of these American truth-tellers in your classroom.
spacer
spacer
BUY THE BOOK AND GREETING CARDS FROM THE YES! STORE:
spacer
Americans Who Tell the Truth ::

Robert Shetterly's series highlights Americans past and present whose dignity, courage, and honesty have shaped this country.

This beautiful coffee-table book is an eloquent collection of portraits and stirring words of these brave citizens from all walks of life.
spacer
Card Sets ::

A special YES! selection of Greeting Cards from the series in sets of 8 (with envelopes).

Sets feature high quality prints of the portraits, complete with quotes and biographies.

Posters also available from the artist.
spacer
spacer
Donate buttonHelp support our work
Become a Dedicated Friend of YES! and we'll send you a FREE copy of Americans Who Tell the Truth and three cards with YES! heroes.
Email Signup
Stand Up to Corporate Power
Comment on this article

How to add a commentCommenting Policy

comments powered by Disqus


You won’t see any commercial ads in YES!, in print or on this website.
That means, we rely on support from our readers.

||   SUBSCRIBE    ||   GIVE A GIFT   ||   DONATE   ||
Independent. Nonprofit. Subscriber-supported.




Current Issue Footer

Personal tools