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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: September 14, 2021 11:25 AM
From: Senator Art Haywood
To: All Senate members
Subject: Honoring the 104th Birthday of Fannie Lou Hamer

In the near future, I will introduce a resolution to honor the 104th birthday of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer on October 6th.
Ms. Hamer was a key figure in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Born in Mississippi to a family of sharecroppers in 1917, Ms. Hamer experienced first-hand mistreatment of minorities in America that motivated her to effect change. Ms. Hamer was actively involved in non-violent protests against segregation and in helping African-Americans register to vote. 
On her way back from a voter registration workshop in 1963, her bus was intercepted by police who arrested and subsequently beat her, denying her medical attention for days afterward. Ms. Hamer described this event to the Credentials Committee of the 1964 Democratic National Convention, which was broadcast on live television. The incidence of an African-American woman speaking to such a large audience was unprecedented, and despite President Johnson's efforts to thwart her message, Ms. Hamer's powerful speech was replayed on television stations over the next few days. Her brutal honesty vividly illustrated the experience of African-Americans and women of color in this country, clearly conveying to the entire nation what it was like to experience inequality and discrimination under Jim Crow in the South.
Ms. Hamer remained politically active, running for Congress in 1965 and helping to establish the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971, until she passed away in 1977. Ms. Hamer's response to injustice as a religious and moral issue rather than simply a political one shined a unique and critical light on the discussion of inequality, artfully expressing the need for civil rights to a more mainstream audience.
Please join me in honoring Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer and her important contributions to society on her 104th birthday.

Introduced as SR183