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September 18, 2006
DH 06 RH72
Contact: Russ Hudson,
Media Relations Coordinator
Life of Plain-Spoken Activist Fannie Lou Hamer to Be Commemorated
Carson, CA-The birthday of the late Fannie Lou Hamer, the granddaughter of slaves who, at age 44, became
a political activist on a national scale, will be celebrated October 5 from 9 a.m. to noon at California
State University, Dominguez Hills by the CSUDH Fannie Lou Hamer Queen Mother Society and the Department of
The event is free. At 10 a.m. that day, “This Little Light of Mine” will be performed by artist Billie Jean
Young as part of a commemoration of Hamer’s life. The event will be held in the Claudia Hampton Lecture Hall,
Room D-165, on the south side of the Welch Hall building.
The plain-spoken, hymn-singing Hamer, known from her speeches as the woman who was “sick and tired of being
sick and tired,” was born in 1917 in Mississippi. She was the youngest of 19 children born to sharecropper
parents (taken from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Website, http://www.ibiblio.org/sncc/hamer.html and from the essortment Website http://nd.essortment.com/fannielouhamer_rgrh.htm).
Then, in 1962, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) held a voter registration meeting in her
county. Hamer, an African American, was surprised, she said, to learn that African Americans had a Constitutional
right to vote. She immediately volunteered for a then-dangerous job for a black person: To register voters at the
Hamer, and others, were jailed and beaten, and she was thrown off the plantation where she had been a sharecropper.
She received death threats. Undiscouraged, she became a SNCC field secretary and traveled the South speaking
and registering people to vote.
Hamer co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), which, in 1964, challenged the all-white Mississippi
delegation to the Democratic National Convention. She spoke to the DNC Credentials Committee in a nationally
televised proceeding, telling viewers how African Americans in many states were prevented from voting by illegal
tests, taxes, and intimidation.
Afterward, two delegates of the MFDP were given speaking rights at the DNC and others were seated as honorable
Hamer, an inspirational figure in the struggle for civil rights in this country, died in 1977 at the age of 59.
Welch Hall is east of Toro Center Drive, across from parking lot 3. Lot 3 is accessible from the Tamcliff Avenue-Toro
Center Drive entrance off East Victoria Avenue. The university is at 1000 East Victoria Street, on the east side of
Avalon Boulevard between the 91 and 405 freeways. Parking passes are available from the yellow dispensing machines at
the peripheries of all parking lots.
For more information, call (310) 243-3050.
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University Communications & Public Affairs
Welch Hall, B-363
1000 East Victoria Street