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Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer was one of the most influential and inspirational personalities for many black activists who struggled for their freedom and civil rights. Born in 1917 to a crowded family of sharecroppers residing in the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest regions of the country, Fannie Lou had to experience the realities of racial discrimination since her early years. A white minority, which was governing the area, established a rigid system of racial segregation and denial of even basic rights for local African-American communities.

After she got married and adopted two children, Fannie Lou had to work on cotton fields and plantations for about twenty years. Forced to suffer endless humiliation and unfairness toward the blacks, Hamer started thinking about changing something in their life. In 1962, encouraged by SNCC activists, she joined a group of volunteers who went to the country seat and attempted to register to vote. As a result, she lost her property and her job; therefore, she decided to dedicate her life to fighting for civil rights of her community.

For about 15 years Hamer was traveling around the country, promoting the ideas of racial equality, helping and educating the poor. She had to face great antagonism, threats and acts of violence, one of which caused severe impairment of her vision. However, her flaming devotion to fighting against racism and topical social problems was absolutely unbreakable. Throughout her life, she remained a dedicated Christian believing that her mission on earth was given to her by the Lord as bringing liberty and good news to the people.

Fannie Lou Hamer is remembered as a very kind-hearted and optimistic person, who felt infinite love for all people regardless of their personality or social status. She used to say that there are no good or bad people, and everyone has to crave for the good in this life. She believed that love and concern about the fellow humans are the essence of Christianity. Fannie Lou Hamer passed away in 1977, at the age of 59, and was laid to rest in one of the cotton fields in her homeland, Sunflower County.

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