The daughter of Mississippi sharecroppers in Montgomery County, Fannie Lou Hamer was born 85 years ago yesterday on October 6, 1917.
Hamer became involved in the civil rights movement when she volunteered to attempt to register to vote in 1962. By then 45 years old and a mother, Hamer lost her job and continually risked her life because of her civil rights activism. Despite this and a brutal beating, Hamer helped organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, to challenge white domination of the Mississippi Democratic Party. In 1964, the party challenged the all-white Mississippi delegation at the Democratic Convention with Hamer leading the challenge. Her voice, along with others, led to an integrated Mississippi delegation in 1968.
She is buried in her hometown of Ruleville, Mississippi, where her tombstone reads, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
- Fannie Lou Hamer, Civil Rights leader.