Fannie Lou Hamer

The Life of a Civil Rights Icon


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About the Book

This book explores the life of one of Mississippi’s greatest civil rights activists, Fannie Lou Hamer. Known for her daring, her brinkmanship and her impassioned speech-making, Hamer rose to prominence in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, an intrepid group which tried to unseat the predominantly white Democrats of Mississippi during the 1964 Democratic National Convention. She is particularly remembered for her speech before the Credentials Committee, seeking to end all-white representation of her home state. Hamer fought her entire life to expand freedom and basic rights to African Americans in the United States.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Earnest N. Bracey is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and is a professor of political science and African American history at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas.

Bibliographic Details

Earnest N. Bracey

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 209
Bibliographic Info: 3 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6030-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8739-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix
Preface      1
Introduction      5

1. Birth, Cotton and Childhood      13
2. The Slavery of Sharecropping      19
3. Cry the Beloved Parents      24
4. Death of Her Parents      31
5. Marriage, Eugenics and Adoption      37
6. Apartheid in Mississippi      44
7. The SNCC Comes to Mississippi      53
8. A New Political Activist      61
9. Voting Rights and Freedom Summer      68
10. Enfranchisement and Training      76
11. The Arrest and Beating of Fannie Lou Hamer      82
12. The Rescue and Aftermath      89
13. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party      95
14. Preparing for the 1964 National Democratic Convention      101
15. The Great Orator      107
16. Continuation of a Political Struggle      114
17. Racism, the White Citizens’ Council, and the FBI      121
18. The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission and a Trip to Africa      128
19. Speaking Out Loud and the 1968 Democratic Convention      134
20. The End of Activism      140
21. Creation of a Freedom Farm      147
22. The Death of Fannie Lou Hamer      153

Conclusions      159
Epilogue      167
Chapter Notes      173
Bibliography      189
Index      197

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A new biography of the woman from rural Mississippi who, through the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, came to be a major activist for civil rights.”—Library Journal