Hamer's b'day to be lauded
by Paisley Boston
Sep 25, 2013 | 444 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Fannie Lou Hamer committee is making plans to celebrate Hamer's 96th birthday and commemorate her legacy as a civil rights activist.

The event is set to take place on Oct. 5 at the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden in Ruleville at 10 a.m.

Nephew of Hamer and Hinds County Tax Assessor Eddie Fair is the guest speaker for the event.

"My aunt not only opened the doors for Blacks, she opened the doors for America. If she had not fought for equality, then many people would not have been allotted the opportunities that they have today. She is the reason that I am, what I am today. In Mississippi, we have more elected black officials then any other state in the U.S. My aunt was the initial force that made all of this possible. It is truly an honor and a privilege to speak on her behalf," said Fair.

Hamer was born Oct. 6, 1917, in Montgomery County but when she was two years old her family moved to Sunflower County.

She is best known for her efforts during the civil rights movement, when she served as a volunteer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and she was instrumental in organizing Mississippi Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which was used to organize voter registration in Ruleville to challenge the state's law's designed to deny blacks the right to register to vote.

As a result of her efforts, Hamer was fired from her job on Marlow plantation but later became secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Hamer died of breast cancer in Mound Bayou on March 14, 1977, at age 59.

"She wanted to make sure that everyone has a better quality of life, especially the citizens of Ruleville. I feel that all of the citizens of Ruleville should come out and commemorate the life and efforts of such a prestigious lady, who made it possible for most of them to have certain rights that they have today. Often, when there are events hosted in honor of Fannie Lou Hamer, I tend to see individuals standing around the corner or gazing from afar on their front porches, and that really troubles me," said Freddie White-Johnson, founder and president of the Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation.

"I don't feel that she has gotten the recognition that she deserves. She worked just as hard as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medger Evers, Jessie Jackson and many other civil rights leaders, and she did it all while battling with breast cancer," she added.

Following the ceremony, friends and family members will place a wreath on Hamer's grave.

According to Beverly Fulton, committee member, the museum will also be open after the memorial ceremony.