Scenes and Songs From FANNIE LOU

POV readers will receive a 40% discount across the board on all available tickets through September 15.

The discount code to use on our Fannie Lou Hamer Eventbrite site is: afampov

On Sunday, Oct. 1, at Yale University’s historic Woolsey Hall, the centennial of Fannie Lou Hamer’s birth will be celebrated with a special presentation of excerpts from the acclaimed musical Fannie Lou. The event, titled “Scenes and Songs from Fannie Lou: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of a Voting Rights Heroine,” will take place from 3 to 5 p.m.

Born Oct. 6, 1917, Fannie Lou Hamer grew up poor and uneducated. However, she refused allow her circumstances to define her. In the summer of 1962, in an environment in which black people were intimidated to the point where their lives were threatened if they attempted to vote, Hamer decided she would exercise that Constitutional right. The Ruleville, Miss., resident joined a contingent of other black Mississippians who travelled to the county seat to register. They were turned away. But shutting the door on their efforts that day in effect opened the door to Fannie Lou Hamer’s activism. After that incident, she persisted until she was finally allowed to register. Not only did she vote, but she also later ran for office.

Her life was often threatened, and at one point she was jailed and beaten because of her voting rights activities, and she attracted national attention in 1964, when she testified before the Democratic National Convention’s Credentials Committee, and is among those whose efforts influenced the passage and signing, by President Lyndon Johnson, of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Fannie Lou Hamer fought tirelessly for voting and other civil and human rights needs for the rest of her life. Her activism came at a price, however. In addition to withstanding violence and death threats, she was faced with a number of health problems that included diabetes, hypertension and cancer. She died in 1977 at age 59. ■

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