Fannie Lou Hamer
FANNIE LOU HAMER:
1964 SPEECH TO THE DNC
CLICK PLAYER TO LISTEN
At The Age Of 44, She Became Fully Active In The Civil Rights Movement, When In 1962, Members Of The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Came To Mississippi And Asked For Volunteers To Help In A Voter Registration Drive.She Subsequently Became SNCC’s Field Secretary And Traveled Throughout The South With The Organization, Speaking And Registering People To Vote. While Working In That Capacity, Hamer Was Beaten, Jailed And Shot At, But Continued Her Activism.
She Was A Key Organizer Of The 1964 Freedom Summer Initiative, Which Brought Mostly Young, White, Northerners To Mississippi To Assist With Registering Black Voters. In That Same Year She Co-Founded And Became Vice-Chair Of The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MDFP), To Challenge The All-White, Anti-Civil Rights Delegation To The 1964 Democratic National Convention.
In A Televised Proceeding, Seen By Millions Of Viewers, Hamer Spoke To The Credentials Committee. She Told The Members How Blacks Throughout The South Were Prevented From Voting Through Intimidation, Illegal Tests And Poll Taxes. While Her Appearance Before The Committee Resulted In Two MDFP Delegates Receiving Speaking Rights At The Convention, Hamer Wasn’t Impressed. She Viewed The Gesture As A Form Of Appeasement. With Her Now Famous Words, She Voiced This Opinion:
"We didn’t come all the way up here to compromise for no more than we’d gotten here. We didn’t come all this way for no two seats. ’Cause all of us is tired. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired."
"Nobody’s free until everybody’s free."
In 1968 Hamer Returned To The Democratic Convention As A Full-Fledged Mississippi Delegate. There She Spoke Out Against The Vietnam War.
She Spent The Years Before Her Death, Working On Grass-Roots-Level Civil Rights Causes In Mississippi. She Died At Age 59, From Breast Cancer.
"In Order For Black History To Live, We Must Continue To Breathe Life Into It." -- Hubert Gaddy, Jr.