Oct. 7, 2018

Fannie Lou Hamer

My Ultimate Freedom Warrior, Fannie Lou Hamer, a magnificent example of human perseverance and dedication. In May 1977 I graduated from Morgan State University while that was a high water point in my young life. The most important date I could remember in 1977 was March 14, 1977. That was the date that Fannie Lou Hamer past on the glory. Ms. Hamer was a powerful spiritual believer in her belief that our black communities deserved ultimate respect and human rights. My first memory of Fannie Lou Hamer was as a 10-year-old black boy watching the Democratic National Committee Hearing on Channel 2. I loved watching news events as a boy I don't know why but I was engrossed in watching the unfolding of the issue of seating a separate delegation for the State of Mississippi. I remember Walter Cronkite painting a picture of how these delegates were attempting to usurp 1964 Democratic Nominating Convention. I distinctly remember this black woman sitting behind a table discussing why her delegation should be seated rather than the elected delegation. Of course, I didn't understand the racial complexities that were involved in the process but I admired this interesting black woman named Fannie Lou Hamer.

I made it my job to learn as much about Fannie Lou Hamer but it wasn't easy because Fannie Lou Hamer wasn't the symbolic leader of the civil rights movement. She didn't have the national stature of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Stokley Carmichael, H.Rap Brown, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Roy Wilkens, James Farmer, or Whitney Young. These were black men who were easily identifiable because they were black men who fit the model of civil rights fighters. Fannie Lou Hamer didn't fit that model. Fannie was educated at any of our black historic institutions of higher learning. Fannie Lou Hamer was a simple black female sharecropper who lived in the oppressive conditions of white supremacist segregation. Fannie lived in Mississippi the belly of the beast of racial hatred. Fannie was a firm believer in the spiritual power of Jesus to bring her strength to overcome her enemies. Fannie was also beaten within moments of life in a Mississippi jail cell while attempting to seek what every American should have a right to have basic constitutional rights. Fannie put her life on the line every day working to convince her neighbors, her relatives, and every black resident of Mississippi of the importance of fighting for the rights of basic citizenship.

Had Fannie Lou Hamer been educated at one of our HBCU's most likely Fannie Lou Hamer would've been recognized as one of the perennial leaders earlier in civil rights movement. However, August 22, 1964, is the date I think most of Black America became aware of Fannie Lou Hamer. Today, in Sunflower County, Mississippi there is a statue that commemorates the sacrifices of Fannie Lou Hamer. In Black America today there should be a minimum requirement to instruct our children on the magnificent life of Fannie Lou Hamer. When the names of King, Malcolm, Carmichael, Evers, Seale, Newton, Hampton, Hutton, Cleaver, Brown, Baker, Wells, are discussed the name of Fannie Lou Hamer should be elevated to the same stature of importance. Her fearlessness, determination, desire to elevate and sacrifice, willingness to go into any racist foxhole for the cause should never be forgotten. God forever blessed Black America with the presence of Fannie Lou Hamer.