There are some lines in which you can hear, and you are taken back to that same moment and that same feeling. Even if you weren’t there…you’ve seen the replay enough to FEEL like you were. Such is the case with Fannie Lou Hamer’s moment before the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City when she said “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
On August 22, 1964 – 52 years ago- the little girl who dropped out of school at 12 to work full time as a sharecropper on a plantation sat in front of the Credentials Committee a passionate black woman who had endured the unthinkable. She went before the DNC to speak to two things- voters suppression and state sanctioned violence. Both issues at crux of why she was the victim of a beating in 1963 that left her with kidney damage, a blood clotted eyes and a permanent limp.
That speech wasn't the beginning nor the end of the political career for the Civil Rights icon, but it was the beginning of an era that changed the political landscape for Mississippi. In one televised speech, Mississippi went from a blue state to a red state, where it remains to this day.
What was most intriguing about Fannie Lou Hamer was that it was clear that even though she was a political activist- she was a bit rough around the edges; much different from the usual polished and poised individuals that we were used to seeing. This is what made her even more dynamic- her personality, her passion and her ability to connect with the every day person.
Thank you Fannie Lou Hamer, for embodying the magic of Black Girls. For standing up for yourself, which in turn was a stand for all of us.