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This Little Light of Mine: The Life of…

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

by Kay Mills

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Why does this 1993 biography seem so much stronger and more straight forward than what I am reading now? I know there's much more introspection and navel gazing these days, especially in memoirs. Here, author Kay Mills tells the facts of Fannie Lou Hamer's remarkable life without much musing on motivation and with no bleed-in from the experiences of the author herself. Fannie Lou was the youngest of twenty children born to Mississippi Delta sharecroppers, in its own way a remarkable achievement. Of her family, she alone became an activist. She came late to political action, attempting to register to vote for the first time at age 44. Fannie Lou, unlike many Southern organizers, was not a religious woman. If anything, signing was her outward prayer and her signature.

Her times, and life in Mississippi in the 1940s - 1970s, were as difficult as life could be for anyone in the United States. The agony of Jim Crow days has to be almost unbelievable to anyone who believes in a "post-racial" existence, or that black people should just "get over it". So-called "freedom" was much closer to slavery, especially in the rural South, than a person born in current times could possibly believe.

In all her dealings with civil rights heroes and the miserable villainous racist rulers, Eastland, Stennis and their ilk, Fannie Lou was a larger light who shines as inspiration for all people and especially for women who are still rising up angry.

"There were many strong leaders in Mississippi, but she was a cut above" - Rims Barber, fellow activist
"Charles Evers speculated that whites, accustomed to having black women working in their homes, were not as threatened by them as by black men."
"At one point, the Hamers received a $9000 water bill. How, she asked, could she owe so much when their house had no running water?"
"I would stress her determination no matter what she was talking about, and people caught this spirit." - Dorothy Cotton, activist
"She made them (her black neighbors) face an unambiguous moral choice in an amoral world; she would not let them off the hook. They might have nothing, but they still felt they had something to lose."
"She is a universal aunt...when word of her arrival at a house gets about, that place begins quietly to fill up with people come to warm themselves on her spirit." - Paule Marshall, author
"There will always be some hellcats even the devil ain't gonna want." - Fannie Lou Hamer ( )
  froxgirl | Apr 30, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452270529, Mass Market Paperback)

Presents the biography of a central figure in the civil rights movement, based on interviews with friends, relatives, fellow protesters, and Hamer herself. Reprint. Tour.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:27 -0400)

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