Feb. 12, 2016

Fannie Lou Hamer, You Had Better Go Ask Somebody America

It is said given the correct circumstances this powerful prophet of justice and peace would’ve been as recognized or even more recognized than either Malcolm or Martin. It is said that no one person spoke truth to power more effectively than this defiant defender of justice. It is said that if you wanted one person just one person to go into battle with against the oppressors of injustice this person would be that one person. It is said that this person came within a whisper of being savagely beaten too death but was never the less undeterred in her personal battle to erase injustice within the borders of this nation. Today I decided to pay tribute to this staunch defender of human rights for black Americans by giving my personal reflections of some of her most poignant words. Today’s “you had better ask somebody” post is a woman whose place in American History ranks side by side with Tubman, Parks, Truth, Wells, Chisholm, King, Malcolm, Carmichael, Seale, Newton, and all the others who have sought for a better day for each and every black American living and breathing today. Today, I ask that you had better ask someone about Miss Fannie Lou Hamer.  

With the people, for the people, by the people. I crack up when I hear it;  I say, with the handful, by the handful, for the handful, cause that’s what really happens.

Now this is Fannie Lou Hamer dishing real talk in the early to late 1960’s. This statement is circa what 1960 on absolute point still today. When the income disparity between blacks and whites is just as terrible today as it was then. How can we as a people not scream to both political parties enough already.  I don’t care if it’s Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Jeb Bush all of these politicians have evaded providing justice in someway to blacks in America today.  Oh yeah Bernie was on the front of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s but being that front secured what for us and how much more for Mr. Sanders. Oh Clinton, she spent 8 years in the White House, 6 more in the Federal State House  how did her service to black Americans benefit us more than it benefits her to this day? Do I need to talk about what justice the various white republican candidates have managed to service on the plate of justice to black Americans. All of these men and women have been on this planet since Fannie Lou Hamer spoke these words and each of them could have taken the mantle for true justice for black Americans. Each of them could have stood behind John Conyers efforts for black Americans to gain some measure of reparatory justice for damages don’t too those of color facing the whips of oppression and repression in this nation. Yet the question asked of their allies was could it damage the credibility of their political or public stature at the time?  I’m not running towards this burning house of injustice any longer with eyes closed shut. My eyes are open only to those who specify real relief to our communities not piece meal crumbs simply meant to quiet but not solve the significant issues facing our communities.

If the white man gives you anything -  just remember when he gets ready he will take it right back. We have to take for ourselves.

Yes Fannie Lou Hamer, speak true truth to justice.  Fannie Lou Hamer knew personally of the savageness of oppression. On June 11, 1963, she took one of the most sadistic brutal beatings at the hands of the white oppressors ever.  Simply because she stood up and was not about to stand down to justice. The sick nature of this act of oppression is that it was carried out by two black men. They were used as agents and they inflicted this  repressive act of violence on Fannie Lou Hamer.  Those sadistic white men who controlled justice in Mississippi stood by in glee as these two men beat Fannie Lou Hamer within a whisper of her life. That may have silenced any normal person of color. However, there was not anything normal about Fannie Lou Hamer. She was a sister of enormous strength as well as the blinding realization that injustice could not and would not silence her desire to seek true justice for herself and all other people’s of color. Was it not Fannie Lou Hamer who defiantly spoke these words - Nobody’s free until everybody’s free. If my brothers and sisters as a community of people are too fully reach the pinnacle of true justice in America. We cannot except those who purport to emphasize with our concerns but who in reality work in the backrooms of injustice. Are plotting ways to disservice our support too truly and benefit our communities in need.  You cannot help us get to where we need to go with compromise.  How long can compromise and small talk continue to be the solution to conditions created to dismantle a communities ability to progress? Martin Luther King spoke of a redistribution of the pain in the days before his death. What Miss Hamer says in his in the same ball park. Only we as a people can rebuild what has never truly been built in this nation. We must demand from those who want our dollars, our votes, you bodies of energies defined solutions that we be implemented by us for us. It’s not asking for a separation of the races any longer. It is simply realizing this fact you were asked to provide solutions to the our communities problems and you have failed to deliver. Now is the time for our people’s to take control no hard feels now.

But you see now baby, whether you have a ph.d, d.d, no d, we’re in this bag together. And whether you are from Morehouse or Nohouse, we’re still in this bag together.

Now Fannie Lou Hamer please don’t come too strong now? You don’t want to hurt nobodies feeling do you?  In a country today that has shown no respect for people of color period. This statement is simply just as relevant in 2016 as it was in 1964.  The unemployment rate for blacks in all categories of educational levels is twice that of their white counterparts. That means that if you don’t have a high school diploma you are twice as likely to be unemployed as the white person beside you. It also means that if you have a high school diploma you are still twice as likely to be unemployed as the white person beside you. If you have some college but not a degree you are twice as likely to be unemployed as the white person beside you. Finally, if you have that college degree you are still twice as likely to be unemployed as the white person beside you.  The bag of racism is open for business still in America. We must be cognizant of that fact. The very best way to overcome those who deny justice and make the devil a liar is too build our own; take it for ourselves as Fannie Lou Hamer would say.

White Americas today don’t know in the world to do because when they put is behind them, that’s where they made their mistake. . . they put us behind them, and we watched every move they made.

Alright now Fannie Lou Hamer, I hear you my sister who provoked, confronted, slammed, kicked, slapped and met injustice head-on in her days in this country. We should’ve and should listen too these powerful words of wisdom. You see as a community of people we have always stood behind our white brethren.  We allowed our white brethren to jive and connive us for far too long. I’m sure had Fannie Lou Hamer had not been taken from us far too soon in live. Fannie Lou Hamer, died at the age of 59 the death certificate may say cancer and hypertension but we know white America killed Fannie Lou Hamer. It drove the stake of oppression and repression into her life each and everyday until the toil of those weapons of hate finally did the job of silencing our voice.  had she lived another 20 or so years her mark on this nation’s black people too seek true justice would have been I feel even more historic than it was.  I personally never met Fannie Lou Hamer, she died the year I graduated from Morgan State University in 1977. Yet, I and others like myself are indeed the agents of Fannie Lou Hamer, those individuals sworn to keep the powerful words of this majestic queen of true justice alive while we walk this planet. Fannie Lou Hamer was born before her time but lived for those in the times she was born. Can you even imagine the greatness of a Fannie Lou Hamer today?  Can you imagine if the world had 100 Fannie Lou Hamer’s?  If you ever have the chance go read FANNIE LOU HAMER, “WE’RE ON OUR WAY”, Fannie gave this soul stirring, justice daring speech in September, 1964 at the Negro Baptist School in Indianola, Mississippi. It does encapsulate everything that makes Fannie Lou Hamer, one of the most historic women in the history of this nation. This country should build a monument honoring the work of this woman who saw the hatred of oppression dealt personally on her fro her righteous stands yet she never yielded to its onslaught. I hope you enjoyed the words of Fannie Lou Hamer aligned with my words because it provided me a measure of redemption this evening. If you brothers and sisters don’t know the life and times of Fannie Lou Hamer you had better go ask somebody.