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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ruleville in Sunflower County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Fannie Lou Hamer

 

— Mississippi Freedom Trail —

 
Fannie Lou Hamer Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, May 22, 2021
1. Fannie Lou Hamer Marker
Inscription.  In 1962 at age 44, Hamer tried to register to vote; the next day she was fired from her job on the plantation east of here. She became a civil rights activist, opening her Ruleville home to Freedom Summer workers and other activists. She earned a reputation as an electrifying speaker, especially as a delegate of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. She fought racism, injustice, and poverty until her death in 1977.

Fannie Lou Hamer When young civil rights activists arrived in Ruleville in 1962 to work on registering black citizens as voters, they were looking for local black people who could help. Fannie Lou Hamer, then forty-four, was attracted to the workers, especially the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). "They treated us like we were special and we loved 'em," she said. "We trusted 'em. For the rest of her life, Hamer dedicated herself to the civil rights movement. She had found her calling, her mission.

On August 31, 1962, seventeen people accompanied Hamer to Indianola to try to register to vote. None of them were registered that day. On the bus

Fannie Lou Hamer Marker (reverse) image. Click for full size.
By Brother Rogers - mdah.ms.gov, May 22, 2021
2. Fannie Lou Hamer Marker (reverse)
Older photo showing captions and photos.
Click or scan to see
this page online
ride home Hamer sang to calm people's fears, inspiring them with a song she would bring to national attention, "This Little Light of Mine." Upon returning to Ruleville, Hamer lost her job on the W. D. Marlow plantation, where she had worked as a timekeeper for eighteen years. Her husband, Perry, a tractor driver, was also fired. Later that fall she finally became a registered voter.

Hamer became a SNCC field secretary in 1963. When her bus stopped in Winona, Mississippi, on the way home from a SCLC citizenship training school, she and others were arrested at a cafe with a "whites only' policy. Police had two other black prisoners brutally beat Hamer in jail; an all-white jury acquitted the law officers.

In Freedom Summer 1964, civil rights activists challenged the all-white Mississippi delegation to the Democratic National Convention on the grounds that blacks had been systematically excluded from voting. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) selected sixty-eight delegates, with Hamer as the delegation's vice chair. Fannie Lou Hamer testified to the convention's Credentials Committee about discrimination faced by black citizens trying to register to vote. The MFDP refused a compromise offered to seat two delegates and returned to political organizing.

A frequent lecturer, Hamer was known for a signature line. "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired."

Marker at the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, May 22, 2021
3. Marker at the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden.
In 1968 the Democratic Party seated her as a delegate. In 1969 she established Freedom Farm with a goal of providing food and some economic independence to local people. She remained active in anti-poverty efforts such as Head Start. She ran unsuccessfully for the Mississippi State Senate in 1971. Hamer died March 14, 1977. Hundreds of people attended her funeral.
 
Erected by Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil Rights. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Freedom Trail series list. A significant historical date for this entry is March 14, 1977.
 
Location. 33° 44.017′ N, 90° 32.421′ W. Marker is in Ruleville, Mississippi, in Sunflower County. Marker is on Byron Street east of Bishop Smith Carter Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 929 Byron St, Ruleville MS 38771, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Fannie Lou Hamer (here, next to this marker); William Chapel (approx. 0.3 miles away); Ruleville Depot (approx. 0.8 miles away); Jimmy Rogers (approx. 0.8 miles away); "Greasy Street" (approx. 0.9 miles away); Birthplace of the Blues?
Fannie Lou Hamer Marker (reverse side) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, May 22, 2021
4. Fannie Lou Hamer Marker (reverse side)
The photos on the reverse side have become weathered and no longer visible.
(approx. 4.4 miles away); Dockery Plantation (approx. 4.4 miles away); Drew, Mississippi (approx. 5.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ruleville.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on Fannie Lou Hamer. (Submitted on May 29, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Statue of Fannie Lou Hamer as a lecturer. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, May 22, 2021
5. Statue of Fannie Lou Hamer as a lecturer.
Sculpted by Zhang Cong in 2012.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 30, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 29, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 38 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 29, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Jun. 20, 2021