2012 October 5

Fanny Lou Hamer Statue Dedicated in Ruleville, Mississippi

 

A statue commemorating Fannie Lou Hamer was dedicated on this day in Ruleville, Mississippi. An African-American sharecropper who became a leading Mississippi civil rights activist, Hamer delivered famous testimony to the 1964 Democratic Convention on August 22, 1964 about seating the interracial Freedom Democratic Party delegation and not the all-white and pro-segregation regular delegation. On June 9, 1963, she and other African-American voting rights activists were brutally beaten in the Winona, Mississippi, jail because of their civil rights activity.

Fannie Lou Hamer’s 1964 testimony: “They left my cell and it wasn’t too long before they came back. He said, “You are from Ruleville all right,” and he used a curse word. And he said, “We are going to make you wish you was dead.”

“I was carried out of that cell into another cell where they had two Negro prisoners. The State Highway Patrolmen ordered the first Negro to take the blackjack. The first Negro prisoner ordered me, by orders from the State Highway Patrolman, for me to lay down on a bunk bed on my face. I laid on my face and the first Negro began to beat. I was beat by the first Negro until he was exhausted. I was holding my hands behind me at that time on my left side, because I suffered from polio when I was six years old.

“All of this is on account of we want to register, to become first-class citizens. And if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?” 

Visit Ruleville and the Hamer Statue: http://www.fannielouhamer.info/hamer_statue.html

Read about Fannie Lou Hamer: Kay Mills, This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer (1993)

Watch the trailer for the opera Dark River: The Fannie Lou Hamer Story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3khFBg7bj0

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