Monday, December 13, 2010

Fannie Lou Hamer

During the civil rights movement, many groups of people contributed to the change for the better of African-Americans throughout the country.  These included students, political leaders, as well as everyday men and women.  The one group that has peeked my interest the most are african-american women of the movement. I would particularly like to look at the contributions of the infamous Fannie Lou Hamer (Black Heroes pg 284.).

Fannie Lou Hamer was born on October 6th, 1917, in Montgomery county Mississippi.  Mrs. Hamer unfortunately did not get the privilege to continue her education beyond six years of schooling.  This was primarily due to the fact that her parents had many children and were extremely poor as well (Black Heroes pg. 284).  In an interview, Hamer describes how hard her mother worked to keep her and her siblings presentable at all times, even when she was forced to wear rags.  Due to a work related injury, Hamers mother lost sight in both eyes, which caused her to be incapable of caring for herself.  With all that in mind, Hamer was determined to do something different (Miller pg. 2).

When Hamer got married in 1942, she and her husband would face the same hardship of poverty that she knew all too well from childhood.  Although they both worked, they both worked for very low wages.  Since Hamer worked hard at everything that she did, she would eventually be promoted to timekeeper on the plantation (Black Heroes pg. 284).
Mary tucker had been a long time friend and mother figure to fannie lou hammer.  Mary tucker first encountered the freedom ryders in 1962 and began to embrace the message that they sought to bring to the african-american community. THe freedom ryders were young college students that went around town on a bus trying to get african-americans to register to vote.  Mary tucker soon realized that this was something that she wanted to be apart of and as a result invited fannie lou hamer to a meeting that was going to be held at a local church.  At first Fannie Lou Hamer was reluctant, but she eventually decided to attend as well.
At this meeting Fannie Lou Hamer would meet two members of  prominent organizations, of the civil rights movement.  These men were  Reverand James Bevel of the Southern Christian Leadership Committee (SCLC) and James Forman of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  There messages of getting your right to vote was deeply embraced by Fannie Lou Hamer.
That day marked the beginning of Fannie Lou Hamers struggle and determination to become a citizen of the United States of America (Mills pg. 24).

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