Today in History
October 06, 1917
Voting Rights Activist Fannie Lou Hamer is born to ask “Is This America?”
Voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, the 20th child in a family of sharecroppers, is born on this day in the Mississippi Delta in 1917. She works on a plantation until age 44, when, urged by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to register and vote, she is jailed for the attempt, forced to leave the plantation and targeted by racial terrorists who threaten and shoot at her. After attending a registration workshop, Hamer is arrested again and beaten badly, resulting in kidney damage, a blood clot in the eye and a limp. Undaunted, in 1963 she co-founds the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), which registers 60,000 black voters statewide, and sends Hamer and other representatives to the 1964 Democratic Convention. There, in a speech that describes the harsh price she has paid for the right to vote, Hamer asks, "Is this America" She becomes a powerful voice in the Civil Rights Movement and serves as a Democratic National Committee Representative from 1968 – 1971 and a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1972. Hamer dies in 1977.
Today's Feature History Article
Photographer Bob Adelman's picture of Martin Luther King, Jr., taken 40 years ago, captures one of the greatest speeches in American history
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