Fannie Lou Hamer (1917–1977) was a voting and women’s rights activist, community organizer, and leader in the civil-rights movement. She was an organizer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and went on to become a co-founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) in 1964. In that same year, she helped organize Freedom Summer, which brought hundreds of college students together to help with Black voter registration in the South, and announced her candidacy for the Mississippi House of Representatives. Although her candidacy was unsuccessful, she went on to help found the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971 and set up a number of organizations to provide business opportunities, food, and child care for Black people.
Editor: Debra Michals, Ph.D