Fannie Lou Hamer
American Voting Rights Movement
On the steps of the Sunflower County Courthouse, Fannie Lou Hamer, a former cotton picker, sharecropper, and voting and civil rights activist stood in protest of voter suppression in the state of Mississippi throughout the United States.
On October 31, 1962, Hamer, escorted by Charles McLaurin and several members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), made her very first attempt to register to vote here at the Sunflower County Courthouse. In 1964, Hamer assisted the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) to organize the historic Freedom Summer in Mississippi. Later that same year, Hamer co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP); and, thereby successfully registered to vote for the first time.
Also that year, Mrs. Hamer told the world she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” during the 1964 Democratic National Convention, which facilitated the Voting Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965.
In addition to her voting advocacy work, in 1969, Hamer purchased 640 acres of farmland to launchthe Freedom Farm Cooperative in Sunflower County, MS. This endeavor provided African American farmers with housing, economic, and collective farming opportunities.
In 1971, Hamer, along with Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and others, went on to create the National Women’s Caucus, and continued her human rights and social advocacy work on an international platform.
Hamer faced many hardships along this journey. In spite of almost losing her life in pursuit of equal voting rights for all Americans, she stood firm in her convictions and left her mark in the sands of time. We, the people of Sunflower County, are eternally grateful to Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer for her determination, leadership and courage.
This historic marker was scripted and developed by Dr. C. Sade Turnipseed's Public History students led by Mr. Brian Diyaolu of Mississippi Valley State University. Sunflower County Board of Supervisors, Mississippi Valley State University and Khafre, Inc made funding possible.
Erected 2020 by Sunflower County Board of Supervisors, Mississippi Valley State University and Khafre, Inc. (Marker Number 1965.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights • Women.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Riley B. King (a few steps from this marker); Albert King (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Church Street (about 700 feet away); Club Ebony (approx. ¼ mile away); Irene Magruder (approx. 0.3 miles away); Wayne and Minnie Cox Park (approx. 0.4 miles away); Giles Penny Savers Store (approx. 0.6 miles away); Freedom School Bombing (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Indianola.
Additional keywords. Voting Rights
Credits. This page was last revised on October 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 11, 2020, by Dr. C. Sade Turnipseed of Indianola, Mississippi. This page has been viewed 148 times since then and 2 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on October 11, 2020, by Dr. C. Sade Turnipseed of Indianola, Mississippi. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.
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