About Fannie Lou Hamer's America
Fannie Lou Hamer’s America is a documentary film project told through the public speeches, personal interviews, and powerful songs of the indomitable Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human-rights-activist. If you’ve ever heard of Fannie Lou Hamer, odds are you were introduced to her through the heart-wrenching testimony she delivered before the 1964 Democratic National Convention’s Credentials Committee. As significant as Hamer’s 1964 DNC speech was and is, her testimony is but one moment within an activist's career that spanned nearly 15 years and took place before audiences in every region of the country.
One of the movement’s pre-eminent orators, Hamer used stories from her own life to call America to account for the racism that defined every aspect of her existence—from the turn-of-the-century cotton plantations of the Mississippi Delta where she was reared to her death in an all-black hospital in 1977. Fannie Lou Hamer’s America not only features rare artifacts from her activist career, the documentary also engages Hamer’s life story—as she told it—foregrounding such themes as the injustice of growing up black and poor in the Mississippi Delta, white supremacist backlash to black voter registration, police brutality, and access to quality healthcare and affordable nutrition. The film draws connections between these core themes that compelled Hamer’s activist struggle and their clear contemporary resonances. In an era of heightened state surveillance, increasing inequality, and continuing police brutality, Hamer’s prophetic mission is no less urgent and no less relevant today than it was 50 years ago.
Assembled by a team of critically acclaimed Civil Rights scholars and in collaboration with the Hamer family, Fannie Lou Hamer’s America weaves its story from the fabric of a voice that challenged the country during her lifetime—and well beyond.