​​​​​​​Fannie Lou Hamer Marker Honoring the Voting Rights Legacy

Dr. C. Sade Turnipseed's picture
March 27, 2020 to March 28, 2020
Mississippi, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, American History / Studies, Black History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies, Public History

Fannie Lou Hamer Marker

Honoring the Voting Rights Legacy


Indianola, MSAfter months of intense planning Mississippi Valley State University’s (MVSU) professor Dr. C Sade Turnipseed and her stellar public history students, led by 17-year old Brian Diyaolu, were given approval by the Sunflower County Board of Supervisors, to place the world’s first historical marker commemorating the historic stance taken by Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer to ensure Voting Rights for all Americans. The historic marker will be unveiled on Friday, March 27, 2020, on the Sunflower County courthouse steps during 2020 African American and Women’s History Month celebrations.

 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1964 Voting Rights Act due in large measure to Mrs Hamer’s advocacy. Mr. Charles McLaurin accompanied the MVSU team to present an undeniable case thoroughly detailing Hamer’s significance to Sunflower County and for the implementation of the historical marker.  Mr. McLaurin along with several other members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) escorted Fannie Lou Hamer, in 1962, as she made her first attempt to register to vote at the Sunflower County Courthouse in Indianola.

MVSU President Jerryl Briggs proudly voiced full support of this undertaking in a recently released official statement, “At MVSU we pride ourselves by putting students first, and Dr. Turnipseed is truly a faculty member who does just that. I congratulate her and the students on this outstanding accomplishment. Understanding the significance of our nations history is extremely important because through this knowledge we can build stronger communities today.” 

Community involvement is critical. We are appealing to the public to support this worthy cause to commemorate this true American heroine. Dr Turnipseed reports, “My students have set a goal of $5,500 for the completion of the historical marker project. We hope to achieve this goal by January 30, 2020. Thus far, we received $3,000 commitment, from the Sunflower County Board of Supervisors. Therefore, a special appeal is going out to ALL local churches, social groups, educational institutions and individuals to get involved by making a contribution for the remaining balance.” The complete list of donors will be listed and acknowledged during the unveiling ceremony.                  

The team’s mission statement is, “At MVSU we sincerely care about historical figures in American history. We want to make sure these cherished and important individuals are remembered in the sands of time. Mrs Hamer falls in this category of people, so we make it our sacred duty to honor her contributions, so that she is not forgotten.” MVSU is committed to positively impacting the quality of life and creating extraordinary educational opportunities for the Mississippi Delta and beyond. This endeavor allows MVSU students to reach new heights by demonstrating their appreciation for the contributions that Mrs Hamer and her contemporaries made to America.

Historical Note: Mrs Hamer was born in Montgomery County, MS on October 6, 1917, the 20th and last child of Lou Ella and James Townsend. Her parents were sharecroppers, and Hamer began working in the fields picking cotton when she was only 6 years old. She learned to read and write and became one of the most important, passionate, and powerful voices of the civil and voting rights movements and a leader in the efforts for greater economic opportunities for African Americans, particularly for women. Mrs. Hamer was internationally acclaimed for her uncompromising fight to combat white supremacy, whilst being subjected to attacks and assassination attempts. Her work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and her testimony at the 1964 National Democratic Party’s Convention on behalf of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) helped change the nation’s perspective on the true meaning of democracy in America. Especially the people of Mississippi, particularly in Mississippi Delta’s Sunflower County, can never forget Mrs Hamer’s courage and fearlessness.                          _________


Tax-deductible donations can be made via credit card or electronic transfer including PayPal through the fiscal sponsor, KHAFRE, INC, at www.cottonpickers.us; or by check made payable to: Khafre, Inc POB 64, Indianola, MS 38751. For more information on the historical marker unveiling ceremony or for further information on how to support this historic effort, contact: Khafre, Inc; 662.347.8198; cassie.turnipseed@mvsu.edu, or info@khafreinc.org



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