“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
Fannie Lou Hamer was a tireless civil rights warrior who did grassroots work in the South for voter registration in the face of massive voter suppression. She co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964 to oppose Mississippi’s all-white Democratic delegation at the Democratic Convention. Hamer was the youngest of 20 children and began doing sharecropping work in the fields at only 6 years old. She had to drop out of school at age 12 to help her family. Hamer was sterilized without her consent by a doctor while she was unconscious and undergoing surgery, and was thus unable to have children. The forced sterilization of Black women has been all too common throughout history. For more information, check out Dorothy Roberts’ book Killing the Black Body.
Hamer did not let adversity stop her from making her voice heard. When she was fired from her job for being vocal about civil rights, she just spoke out all the louder. She was beaten, jailed, and even shot at, but she never gave up. She is an inspiration and role model for all grassroots activists and participants in freedom struggles.