PRINTER'S NO. 1093
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE RESOLUTION
No.
183
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY HAYWOOD, HUGHES, KEARNEY, KANE, BARTOLOTTA,
FONTANA, SCAVELLO, PITTMAN, HUTCHINSON, COSTA AND BREWSTER,
SEPTEMBER 22, 2021
REFERRED TO RULES AND EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS, SEPTEMBER 22, 2021
A RESOLUTION
Honoring Fannie Lou Hamer on her 104th birthday in recognition
of her vast and valiant efforts to ensure the civil rights of
minorities, women and low-income families.
WHEREAS, Fannie Lou Hamer, née Townsend, was born October 6,
1917, in Montgomery County, Mississippi, the youngest of 20
children to a family of cotton sharecroppers; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Hamer moved with her family to Sunflower County,
Mississippi, when she was two years of age, where she began
working the fields at six years of age; and
WHEREAS, In 1961, during a surgery to remove a tumor, Ms.
Hamer was given a hysterectomy without her consent as part of
Mississippi's plan at the time to reduce the number of poor
African Americans in the state, coining the term "Mississippi
appendectomy" for the disturbingly common involuntary
sterilization of African-American women in the South during the
1960s; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Hamer began attending nonviolent protests for
civil rights in 1962 and began actively helping with African-
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American voter registration efforts in the Jim Crow South,
seeing civil rights not just as a political issue, but a
religious and moral issue; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Hamer dedicated her life to fight for civil
rights, first working through her town of Mound Bayou,
Mississippi's Regional Council of Negro Leadership and later
working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to
participate and organize acts of civil disobedience to fight
racial segregation and injustice; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Hamer was threatened, arrested, beaten and even
shot at in violent response to her work, though this never
deterred her, as evidenced in her response to being one of 18
African Americans who attempted to register to vote at the
county seat in Indianola: "... what was the point of being
scared? The only thing [they] could do was kill me, and it
seemed like they'd been trying to do that a little bit at a time
since I could remember"; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Hamer was fired from her sharecropping
plantation in 1962 for participating in civil rights
demonstrations and trying to register to vote; and
WHEREAS, On June 9, 1963, Ms. Hamer was at a bus stop in
Winona, Mississippi, returning from a Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee conference in South Carolina when she and
other voter registration volunteers were violently arrested for
attempting to enter a whites-only restaurant and restroom; and
WHEREAS, Once in police custody, Ms. Hamer was brutally
beaten in a jail cell by police and other prisoners at the
command of the officers and denied medical attention for more
than two days until her release, causing permanent health
damage; and
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WHEREAS, In 1964, Ms. Hamer helped to found the Mississippi
Freedom Democratic Party, which registered 60,000 new African-
American voters in Mississippi in 1964 and was developed to
oppose Mississippi's exclusively white delegation at the
Democratic National Convention; and
WHEREAS, The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party sent Ms.
Hamer, who served as vice chair, to the 1964 Democratic National
Convention, where on December 22, Ms. Hamer gave an emotional
televised testimony recounting her June 9, 1963, arrest and
subsequent beatings; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Hamer remained politically active after the
Voting Rights Acts passed, attempting to run for the Congress of
the United States in 1965, as well as helping poor and needy
families in her Mississippi community; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Hamer helped establish the National Women's
Political Caucus in 1971, which was created to aid women seeking
government positions of all kinds, citing a similar struggle
shared by women of different backgrounds as a need to help their
advancement; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Hamer was laid to rest on March 14, 1977, in
Mound Bayou, Mississippi, but the organizations she established
to increase business opportunities for minorities and to provide
child care and family services in her community lived on; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Hamer's tombstone in Ruleville, Mississippi, is
engraved with her famous words taken from a speech that she
delivered alongside Malcolm X at a 1964 Mississippi Freedom
Democratic Party rally in Harlem: "I am sick and tired of being
sick and tired"; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the Senate honor Fannie Lou Hamer on her 104th
birthday in recognition of her vast and valiant efforts to
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ensure the civil rights of minorities, women and low-income
families.
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