The establishment [read- men throughout all of time] have always tried to silence women. They have gone through great lengths to make sure that the voices and stories of women are not included in the national discourse. In this instance, President Lyndon Johnson tried to straight shut down Fanny Lou Hamer because he did not want the world to hear her voice, to hear her truth.
During the 1964 Democratic Convention, He cut away from her speech thinking that would silence her, he thought the world would care more about the nothing he had to say, than the struggle of black people in this country at the time, but it back fired. All of the news outlets, realizing the blatant attempt to silence Fannie Lou Hamer, ran the speech over and over and the impact was immediate
During her testimony this sharecropper from Mississippi grabbed the mic and told a story of her struggle that was so real and so visceral it sends a chill down your spine as you are listening.
Fannie Lou Hamer was born in Montgomery County, Mississippi, the youngest of her parents’, Ella and James Lee Townsend’s, 20 children. Her family moved to Sunflower County, Mississippi in 1919 to work on the plantation of W. D. Marlow as sharecroppers. Hamer picked cotton with her family, starting at the age of 6. She attended school in a one-room schoolhouse on the plantation, from 1924-1930, at which time, she had to drop out. By the age of 13, Hamer could pick 200-300 pounds of cotton daily. In 1944, after the plantation owner discovered that she was literate, Hamer was selected to be the plantation’s time and record keeper. In 1945 she married her husband, Perry “Pap” Hamer. They worked together on the plantation for the next 18 years.
During the 1950s, Hamer attended several annual conferences of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL) in the all-black town of Mound Bayou, Mississippi. The RCNL, a combination civil rights and self-help organization, was led by Dr. T. R. M. Howard, a civil rights leader and wealthy black entrepreneur. The annual RCNL conferences featured entertainers such as Mahalia Jackson, speakers such as Thurgood Marshall and Rep. Charles Diggs of Michigan, and panels on voting rights and other civil rights issues.
While having surgery to remove a tumor, in 1961 Hamer was also given a hysterectomy without her consent by a white doctor as a part of the state of Mississippi’s plan to reduce the number of poor blacks in the state. The Hamers later raised two impoverished girls, who they later decided to adopt.
Watch the first video which is an except from the Documentary “Freedom Summer”
If this was a slam poem it would receive a perfect 30 from me.
You can check out the entire speech at the link below@
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