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Mass Market Paperback This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer Book

ISBN: 0452270529

ISBN13: 9780452270527

This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer

(Part of the Civil Rights and the Struggle for Black Equality in the Twentieth Century Series)

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Book Overview

"Riveting...Kay Mills has provided a history that help us understand the choices made by so many black men and women of Hamer's generation."-The New York Times Book Review. This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Mrs. Hamer's Light of Freedom

Kay Mills' portrait of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer is painted with broad strokes which reveal her as a truly important leader of the local Missisippi civil rights movement. She becomes a national figure who overcomes her deprived upbringing and an inspiration to civil rights activists around the world. The picture drawn of her by Ms. Mills fills in the background of her sharecropper past and takes the reader through her attempt to register to vote, being evicted from her plantation home and her entry into the movement as a fulltime SNCC staffer and her brutal beating in a Winona, Mississippi jail. Thereafter we see her at the Democratic National Convention in 1964 and the Congressional Challenge in 1965 and the Democratic National Convention in 1968. The truly moving picture Ms. Mills gives us of Mrs. Hamer is a picture of a principled person who refused to compromise her belief in people and her unending fight to bring justice to Mississippi blacks and to open up connections with white Mississippi whatever the price. She is revealed as not just a civil rights activist who fought unendingly through the courts but more as a humanitarian who unceasingly fought to relieve the poverty of her fellow Mississippians, both black and white. Never taking advantage of the monies she raised to help her neighbors, she died penniless.

Fills an important niche

Mills' biography is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on the civil rights movement. The well-documented work explores the life of Ms. Hamer, an important figure in the '60s Deep-South struggles whose name may be unfamiliar to some.Fannie Lou Hamer was a poorly educated woman who, like most of her contemporaries growing up in pre-Depression Mississippi and beyond, endured virtual apartheid for a good portion of her life. Voting rights were essentially unknown to African-Americans in the state, which was controlled for decades by opponents of civil rights locally and through the state's federal representatives, most notably James O. Eastland, a senator who consistently stalled civil rights legislation through his control of the Judiciary Committee.Ms. Hamer was among the first African-Americans to challenge Mississippi's voting registration practices, which were designed to bar blacks from voting. For her troubles, she was arrested, detained in a small-town jail and beaten so severely that she sustained injuries that eventually shortened her life.Mills paints a vivid picture of Ms. Hamer's indomitable spirit, which was symbolized by her powerful singing voice, frequently employed to boost the courage of her local comrades and of the black and white workers who came to Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964 in an attempt to challenge the white supremacists who ran the state.Nowhere does her spirit come through more clearly than in Mills' account of the 1964 challenge Hamer and others leveled at the Democratic delegation sent to the presidential convention in Atlantic City. The challengers persuasively claimed that they represented thousands of disenfranchised African-Americans who had been denied their right to participate in the political process. The Democratic presidential candidate, Lyndon Johnson, and his running mate, Hubert Humphrey, Mills recounts, dragged their feet on addressing the challengers' claims, only belatedly offering a weak compromise that Hamer and some others fiercely opposed."I question America," Hamer memorably said during hearings on her group's challenge of the white-only delegation. Mills is careful to explore the arguments and motivations of those within Hamer's delegation who argued in favor of accepting the compromise, but it is clear that her heart lies with Hamer's courageous stand.In the end, the 1964 challenge failed, but in 1968 another challenge succeeded and Hamer was seated, along with others, at that year's presidential convention. The victory, which deserves special mention in American history, was tempered and largely forgotten due to the street violence for which the 1968 convention is now largely remembered.Mills also does a fine job of relating Ms. Hamer's attention to the plight of the poor and her attempts to build political power for the impoverished. One gets a strong sense of the sacrifice that Hamer made to live a life committed to political struggle.It is only when Mills at

An important roll model

A well writen documentary of an inspirational woman. This book gives life to significant events taking place in the fight for civil rights. In particular, reading about her Freedom Ride on a bus through the American South gave chilling reality to the ordeal. Fannie Lou Hamer is a pivotal figure in American history.

This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer Mentions in Our Blog

This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer in They Spoke Up
They Spoke Up
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • June 12, 2020

As we celebrate the swell of activism and action in support of justice and equality, we're taking the opportunity to amplify the voices and stories of some of the key women and girls behind the civil rights movement. They had to fight to be heard and we applaud them!

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