‘Fannie Lou Hamer’s America’ Highlights the Activist’s Vision for This Country

The activist Fannie Lou Hamer. Image: Bettmann/Getty Images.

Fannie Lou Hamer is one of the most poignant voices and proponents of civil rights in American history. In February 2022, she is having her say. The award-winning PBS series America Reframed is illuminating the America that Hamer envisions in a kickoff television special.

Fannie Lou Hamer’s America celebrates the life of one of America’s most profound civil and human rights activists through exploration of public speeches, personal interviews, and powerful song. The program is directed by Joy Davenport and produced by Monica Land and Selena Lauterer. 

Born on October 6, 1917 in Montgomery County, Mississippi, Fannie Lou Hamer was the last of twenty children to be born to her parents Lou Ella and James Townsend. She was a large proponent of shifting the economic conditions for Black Americans and fought adamantly for voting rights. She understood that part of the liberation of Black folks came via the power of knowing how to read and write.

Her passion for voting rights was largely attributed to a meeting she attended that was hosted by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In 1964, she co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) to combat white Democrats’ blockage of Black voters and their participation. She was also known for her poignant speeches that vocalized her frustration with seeking equity by way of the political process, and gave light to the struggles of those in rural parts of the country while challenging white America’s morality. Her efforts largely shaped the social justice landscape and continues to impact the Black community today. 

The season begins with a special presentation on PBS on Tuesday, February 22, 9:00 to 10:30 p.m. ET, followed by its broadcast on WORLD Channel on Thursday, February 24.

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