A New Orleans mural honors the legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer.

A New Orleans mural honors the legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer.

Fifty years ago this week, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, bringing the promise of equality in voting to disenfranchised blacks. Though many famous names are associated with the civil rights era, Fannie Lou Hamer’s never quite reached household recognition, yet she was a linchpin in the success of the movement. Hamer, a poor Mississippi sharecropper, became an outspoken voice in the drive to register black voters. Her gripping televised testimony about the abuse she suffered during the registration process literally stopped the 1964 Democratic convention. Her testimony would help pave the way for the historic law that would pass a year later. We look back at Fannie Lou Hamer’s life and legacy.


  • Robin Hamilton Journalist and filmmaker; Director, "This Little Light of Mine: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer"
  • Sandra Jowers-Barber Director, Division of Humanities, University of the District of Columbia Community College

WATCH: 'This Little Light Of Mine' Trailer

WATCH: Fannie Lou Hamer's Testimony

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