In the 1960s, being Black and exercising your right to vote meant losing your job, being beaten or even lynched. But for Fannie Lou Hamer, voting rights activist and civil rights leader, there was no point in being scared. Fearless, she was among the first to organize voter registration drives throughout the South during the Civil Rights struggle, and considered one of the best organizers of the entire movement. For her efforts, Hamer received death threats. She was shot at, jailed, brutally beaten, and fired from the plantation where she worked. She was “tired of being sick and tired,” Hamer said. Thanks to Hamer’s relentless commitment, not only can African-Americans vote with no restraints, they eventually went to the voting booths in droves and successfully elected the first African-American President, Barack Obama. Hamer laid the stones on the very ground on which Barack Obama stands.
VIDEO: Fannie Lou Hamer’s address at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.