Program for "Fannie Lou Hamer Day and Banquet"

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Description

Program, including brief biography, for a banquet honoring Fannie Lou Hamer at Ruleville Central High School in Ruleville, Mississippi.

Date

Subject

Hamer, Fannie Lou; Henry, Aaron, 1922-1997; Blackwell, Unita, 1933-2019; Brooks, Owen H.; Clark, Robert George, 1929-; McLaurin, Charles; African Americans; Ruleville (Miss.)

Text Item Type Metadata

Text

Fannie Lou Hamer
Day And Banquet

Ruleville Central High School
360 North Division Street
Ruleville, Mississippi

Sunday, March 29, 1970
4 p.m.

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Menu

Turkey and Dressing
Tossed Salad
Cranberry Sauce
English Peas
Rolls
Punch
Cake

Planning Committee

Mrs. Patsy King, Drew, Miss.
Mrs. Juanita Harvey, Ruleville, Miss.
Mr. Joseph Harris, Sunflower, Miss.

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Program

Joseph Harris, Toastmaster

Invocation - Rev. Robinson

Welcome - Mr. H. R. Smith
Principal, Ruleville Central High School

Music - The Hamerettes

Speaker - Mrs. Cora Harvey
"Mrs. Hamer's Childhood"

Speaker - Charles McLaurin
"Mrs. Hamer's Involvement in Civil Rights"

Speaker - Rev. Clifton Whitley
Chairman, FBP
"Mrs. Hamer And FBP"

Music - The Hamerettes

Speaker - Mr. Owen Brooks
Director, Delta Ministry

Speaker - Mrs. Unita Blackwell
National Council of Negro Women

Music

Speaker - Ed Brown
Director, MACE

Speaker - Dr. Aaron Henry
State President, NAACP

Special Presentation - Joseph Harris

Music

Introduction of Guest Speaker - Joseph Harris

Guest Speaker - Representative Robert Clark
Holmes County

Address - Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer

Music

Announcements

Benediction

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Biography Of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer

Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, was born in Montgomery County, Mississippi one of twenty children. She began working in the cotton fields at the age of six.

For eighteen years of her adult life, Mrs. Hamer worked as a sharecropper and time-keeper on a plantation four miles east of Ruleville, Mississippi, where she now lives. But in 1962 she was fired as a reprisal after attempting to vote. Shortly thereafter she left her family and went with friends because of threats on her life. During this period the house in which she was staying was riddled with sixteen gun shots, but she miraculously escaped. Within a year she had become the most dynamic woman to emerge from the Civil Rights Movement.

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), of which Mrs. Hamer is a founder and Vice Chairman was organized in Jackson, Mississippi on April 26, 1964 because the regular Democratic party did not admit Negroes. The Mississippi Freedom party is the state's only party to both Negroes and Whites. It has concentrated on representing the poor of the state, both white and black.

Mrs. Hamer and the MFDP first came to national prominence in August of 1964, when she led a delegation of Mississippi citizens to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. There they challenged the seats of the regular Mississippi delegation. The results of the challenge was an unprecedented pledge from the National Democratic party not to seat delegations that excluded Negroes at the next National Convention, in 1968.

Mrs. Hamer, Vice-president of Freedom Farm Co-op, an organization for community development for under-privileged blacks of Sunflower County.

In 1964, Mrs. Hamer attempted to run for congress in the second Mississippi Congressional District, representing twenty four counties. She was not allowed on the ballot. The MFDP then conceived the "Freedom Ballot" idea. All candidates' names, white and black, were placed on this ballot. When the vote was counted, Mrs. Hamer had received 33,009 votes and her opponent, Congressman Jamie Whitten, only 49.

Thereafter, on January 4, 1965, Mrs. Hamer, along with Mrs. Annie Devine and Mrs. Victoria Gray took her appeal to the Congress in a dramatic challenge to the seats of the entire Mississippi delegation to the House of Representatives, all of who are white, in a state where almost 50 percent of the population is Negro. On September 17, 1965, their challenge was argued on the floor of the House and was defeated 228-143. The three, who were there to witness the votes, had been the first Negro women ever to sit on the House's floor.

Mrs. Hamer's life has been threatened countless times. She was jailed and beaten in the Delta Town of Winona, Miss., in June 1963 when she attempted to use restroom facilities in a Trailway's bus station, after the ICC had issued regulations barring discrimination in such facilities. This episode has left her with cronic injuries.

Mrs. Hamer has received two honorary degrees: an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi, issued by the faculty upon approval of the Board of Trustees June 1, 1969. She received a honorary degree of "Doctor of Humanities" from Shaw University, Raleigh, North Carolina, June 1969. She also received several awards: A tribute for her strong defense of human dignity and fearless promotion of Civil Rights in her native state of Mississippi was presented to her by Hugh M. Closter, president Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia. On August 14, 1969 Mrs. Hamer received the Mary Church Terrell Award from Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., for her relentless fight against all forms of racism, intolerance, and political, social and economic oppression.

A forthright and much sought-after speaker, Mrs. Hamer travel widely, seeking support for the crucial struggle for free elections in her own Sunflower County, the home of Senator James O. Eastland. Mrs. Hamer was plaintiff in the suit which recently set aside the election in the towns of Sunflower and Moorhead, which MFDP ran an all black slate. She has led many successful campaigns for voter registration. She recently conducted a voter registration in Sunflower County for three months which registered 2,000 voters.

Mrs. Hamer lives in Ruleville with her husband, Perry. He is a skilled tractor driver but has been unable to find permanent work since 1962 because of his own and his wife's Civil Rights activities until he was recently employed by the Associated Communities of Sunflower County, a Negro Headstart group, hauling children to and from school.

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Citation

Ruleville Central High School (Ruleville, Miss.), “Program for "Fannie Lou Hamer Day and Banquet",” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed January 27, 2023, https://msstate-exhibits.libraryhost.com/items/show/1972.

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