Fannie Lou Hamer

rs. Fannie Lou Hamer speaks before the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, 8/22/1964. Image: Waren K. Leffler, Library of Congress.

Oct. 6, 1917: Fannie Lou Hamer Was Born
By | October 6, 2015

Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer was born on this day in 1917 in Montgomery County, Mississippi. The story of Mrs. Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) should be central to any study of U.S. history. Hamer and thousands more Mississippians took one of the boldest moves ever in U.S. history to fight for a democratic process in national elections.

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The FDP brought this car to Atlantic City to show the delegates and press at the Democratic Convention how Mississippi blacks were treated when they tried to register to vote. Image: Jo Freeman.

‘Is This America?’: 50 Years Ago Sharecroppers Challenged Mississippi Apartheid, LBJ, and the Nation
By | August 17, 2014

By Julian Hipkins III and Deborah Menkart
Fifty years ago this month, Mississippi sharecropper Fannie Lou Hamer gripped the nation with her televised testimony of being forced from her home and brutally beaten (suffering permanent kidney damage) for attempting to exercise her constitutional right to vote.

“Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings?” she asked the credentials committee at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer
By | October 6, 2015

Book – Non-fiction. By by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Ekua Holmes. 2015. 45 pages.
Illustrated biography of Fannie Lou Hamer, an unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement.

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This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer
By | April 14, 2014

Book – Non-fiction. By Kay Mills. 2007. 390 pages.
First-hand accounts of Fannie Lou Hamer’s emergence as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

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Sharecroppers Challenge U.S. Apartheid: The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
By | August 16, 2014

Teaching Activity. By Julian Hipkins III, Deborah Menkart, Sara Evers, and Jenice View. 2014.
Role play on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) for grades 7+. Introduces students to a vital example of small “d” democracy in action.

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A few of the unsung heroes featured in a lesson available online. Portraits from Americans Who Tell the Truth.

Unsung Heroes: Encouraging Students to Appreciate Those Who Fought for Social Justice
By | November 17, 2011

Teaching Activity. Essay by Howard Zinn and lesson by Bill Bigelow. 17 pages.
Students research and share stories about unsung heroes in U.S. history.

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Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching
By | May 2, 2005

Teaching Guide. Edited by Deborah Menkart, Alana D. Murray, and Jenice L. View. 2004. 576 pages.
Provides lessons and articles for K-12 educators on how to go beyond a heroes approach to the Civil Rights Movement, with a focus on education, economics, labor, youth, women, and culture.

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I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle
By | August 25, 2006

Book – Non-fiction. By Charles M. Payne. 1995. 506 pages.
The people’s history of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi.

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Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi
By | July 15, 2006

Book – Non-fiction. By John Dittmer. 1995. 560 pages.
A detailed, grassroots description of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi.

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Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC’s Dream for a New America
By | June 30, 2006

Book – Non-fiction. By Wesley C. Hogan. 2009. 463 pages.
An innovative study of what the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) accomplished and, more importantly, how it fostered significant social change in such a short time.

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On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail
By | May 29, 2006

Book – Non-fiction. By Charles E. Cobb, Jr. 2008. 388 pages.
An educational travel guide to historic sites of the Civil Rights Movement.

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Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1985
By | October 20, 2004

Film. Produced by Henry Hampton. Blackside. 1987. 360 min.
Comprehensive documentary history of the Civil Rights Movement.

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Freedom on My Mind
By | January 7, 2013

Film. Directed Connie Field and Marilyn Mulford. Written by Michael Chandler. 1994. 110 min.
The story of the Mississippi freedom movement in the early 1960s.

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Standing on My Sisters' Shoulders

Standing on My Sisters’ Shoulders
By | March 25, 2004

Film. By Joan Sadoff, Robert Sadoff, and Laura Lipson. 2002. 60 minutes.
Documentary film on women in the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi.

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