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Statue of Civil Rights Icon Fannie Lou Hamer Unveiled

Statue of Civil Rights Icon Fannie Lou Hamer Unveiled

By Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Afro American Newspaper

 

 

 

– She is remembered across the world as the woman who was “sick and tired ofbeing sick and tired.” On Oct. 5, hundreds came from across the United States to remember Fannie LouHamer, a tireless civil rights advocate during her lifetime, at the unveilingof a statue built in her honor in her hometown of Ruleville, Miss. “What was it James Brown sang? I feel good,” Hamer’s daughter, VergieHamer Faulkner, said on seeing her mother’s statue, according to the ClarionLedger. {{more}} Hamer was born Fannie Lou Townsend on Oct. 6, 1917, to sharecroppers. She laterworked as a sharecropper and timekeeper on a plantation in Sunflower County,Miss. She died March 14, 1977. Many remember Hamer for her unstinting passion for civil and human rights,equality and justice. Her activism probably began in 1962 when she decided togo register to vote and was told she would have to leave the plantation whereshe had lived and worked for 18 years. “I didn’t go register for you sir, I did it for myself,” Hamer challenged herboss W. D. Marlowe, according to the statue committee’s website. From then on she dedicated herself to registering Black voters and other socialcauses, and suffered imprisonment, beatings and assassination attempts. But shepersevered. Hamer helped organize the racially diverse Mississippi Freedom DemocraticParty, which challenged the seating of an all-White Mississippi delegation atthe 1964 Democratic National Convention. Her defining speech before the assembly was so eloquent and so fiery thatPresident Lyndon Johnson called a press conference to try and divert attentionaway from her. But national networks later ran her speech in its entirety and anational audience sat spellbound by her conviction and her truths. Speaking of her beating at the hands of highway patrolmen in Winona she asked,”Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we haveto sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threateneddaily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?” Such oratorical skill and fearlessness seemed to belie her beginnings. “Fannie Lou Hamer went from being a sharecropper, born and raised in one of themost racist and bigoted areas in our country, to becoming a strong, blackfemale who was so articulate and such an incredible motivator,” said ReenaEvers-Everette, the daughter of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers, asquoted by TheGrio.com. “She changed the course of history especially in thefield of politics and the Democratic Party.”

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