Fannie Lou Hamer Facts

Fannie Lou Hamer Facts
Fannie Lou Hamer was notable civil rights activist in the state of Mississippi during the 1960s. As a black woman, Hamer's activism in the civil rights movement included many gender as well as racial issues. In addition to being one of the founders of the Freedom Democratic Party, Hamer worked with a wide range of organizations, including the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), to register blacks in Mississippi to vote and to raise the level of education among young blacks. Hamer was born Fannie Lou Townsend on October 6, 1917 to James and Ella Townsend, who were sharecroppers in Montgomery, Mississippi. Her family later moved to the Delta county of Sunflower, which is where Hamer lived the remainder of her life. In 1945 she married farmer Perry Hamer and had two daughters with him.
Interesting Fannie Lou Hamer Facts:
As a child she often worked in the fields with her parents and had to do so full-time at age twelve to support them.
Because she was literate, Fannie was chosen to be the time and record keeper by the plantation boss.
Fannie learned how to read the Bible at a young age and would later use biblically based metaphors and spiritual hymnals in her activist work.
Hamer first became involved in activism in 1962 when she attempted to register to vote.
As a result of attempting to register to vote in 1962, she was shot at by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
After failing the literacy tests twice, Hamer passed on the third attempt and finally registered to vote in early 1963.
While working with the SNCC in 1963, Hamer was arrested in Winona, Mississippi. While in jail on the charge, she was severely beaten by other inmates on the orders of the police.
Hamer suffered extreme injuries as a result of her beating in jail and endured health problems for the remainder of her life as a result.
Hamer became involved in the SNCC's "Freedom Summer" campaign to register black voters in Mississippi in 1964.
Along with Ella Baker and Robert Parris Moses, Hamer formed the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964 as an alternative to the pro-segregation Democratic Party of Mississippi.
Hamer and other Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party members traveled to the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, but were denied delegate seats by the party's bosses.
In 1964, Hamer helped form the Freedom Farm Cooperative, which gave aid to poor black farmers in Mississippi by providing them with some stock and equipment.
Hamer unsuccessfully ran for the United States Senate in Mississippi in 1964 and the Mississippi state Senate in 1971.
Hamer died on March 14, 1977 due to complications from breast cancer and hypertension at the age of fifty-nine. She was buried in Ruleville, Mississippi in Sunflower County.
Hamer's memorial service was held in Ruleville Central High School and was attended by over 1,500 people. Andrew Young, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, gave the eulogy.

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