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The activism of Fannie Lou Hamer: a timeline

Fannie Lou Hamer was a galvanizing force of the Civil Rights movement, using her voice to advance voting rights and representation for Black Americans throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Faced with eviction, arrests, and abuse at the hands of white doctors, policemen, and others, Hamer stayed true to her faith and her conviction in non-violent progress. She helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, ran for Congress, and was one of the first three Black women in American history to be seated on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Hamer dedicated herself fully as a grassroots organizer of the Civil Rights movement, inspiring countless activists and pushing progress forward. This is her story. 

1969-1977: Fighting for universal rights

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Despite suffering from physical and mental exhaustion, and failing health in the early 1970s, Hamer used her celebrity to highlight local and national issues around food insecurity, universal health care and pre-school education, race and gender inequality, anti-poverty, and anti-war activism. and social justice. She lost her battle with breast cancer and died 14 March 1977, at the age of 59. Credit: © Marcelina Martin 1972.

Images are from Walk with Me, except where otherwise noted and linked.

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