Fannie Lou Hamer-one ballot one nation

July 3, 2008
By Toluwase Oladapo, New York, NY

I was born the youngest out of 20 working on a cotton farm, we worked endlessly in the hot sun, but it amounted to nothing. At once my father became wealthy but the jealous white man would never accept equality with us negroes. They would poison our livestock with bright green pesticide called Paris green. I continued to labor for no reason exactly. Although I wasn’t born into slavery I lived in such manner. The condition were inhuman , the heat was suffocating, and enveloping, the work was harsh , the tragedy I unintentionally pronounced my life. We lived in county called sunflower, the black folks in our neighborhood were the poorest in the community. I wore rags on my feet and ate poverty and drank sorrow. I couldn’t afford a doctor, so my polio became worse and I began to limp. My sister became fully blind after a chip crashed into her eye, for no medical assistance was given. No one outside cared and wealth wasn’t as thoughtful as we’d prefer. I soon became married to Perry Hamer. I was a sharecropper , as we worked together I found that I over sowed for my small reaping after my rigorous pain I found that was underplayed. I began measuring the bales according to my pay and I found that my whit boss fixed his scales to make it seem as if we collected less than the actual amount. After doing this I was in risk of losing my job, by this actually being my rebellion , my civil disobedience, I was truly sick and tied of being sick and tired.
My house was cold and the plumbing didn’t work but my boss’s dog had his own bathroom. hen again negroes were treated worse than dogs! I was hospitalized for minor surgery or so they told me . They took out my womb without my consent. I could do nothing because this was legal in Mississippi , they felt there were enough black people to begin with and they didn’t have room to bring in any more! I sadly heard about a boy Emmet Till who was hung and cruelly killed by white men, for selfish reason. While this 14 year old was rushed to his grave the killers went free in the courtroom. I couldn’t bear my own child , but others were being killed abominably.
I wanted to make a change, after my obstacles so I pursued the dream of hope because I knew it wasn’t the ignorance of my obstacles but the greater admiration of a better day. I attended a church meeting where we were putting our names down for a voting ballot. I was aware that black women were being denied the right to vote, nevertheless I signed up. After refusing to extract my name from the ballot I was ready for the ready consequences. I was forced out of my home so I moved in with friends. When the word got around they attacked the house and shot 16 times, but miraculously by the grace of God no on was even pinched. I went into hiding for two moths and after a while I was sick of running and had done nothing. I soon returned to the courthouse in Indianola to try to pass the voter registration test. I had done some studying on the constitution of Mississippi and my fear became non-existent. They couldn’t fire me because I didn’t have a job. They could put me out my house because I didn’t have one. There was nothing they could take from me any longer. My husband had lost his job because of me, we lived on a meager salary and what the voter registration workers could scrape.
Mississippi had the most racial violence and we were still being lynched and killed lawlessly. anyone who attempted for racial equality could be easily killed and go unseen. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was one of the principal organizations of the American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It emerged in April of 1960 from student meetings led by Ella Baker held at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina.
SNCC played a major role in the sit-ins and Freedom Rides, a leading role in the 1963 March on Washington, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party over the next few years. SNCC were risking their lives and I remember when the first black man to be elected into the house of representatives said that he ‘’tired to warn us that were all southerners and we knew the depth of the depravity of southern racism , we knew better than to try to take on Mississippi’’ he said. I still attempted to vote and I passed my second test but I could not take it, for the African American tax was too high. After passing it made us appear as criminals. We had to have our lights out before dark. Cars were passing by our house at all times of the night, driving real slow with guns and pickups with white men in it, they pas our house as slow as possible. Despite the threats I still went on and became a spokeswoman for SNCC.
In June 1963 I went with a group to south Carolina , for citizenship training that was being run by Septima clark. After the training were continuously arrested and battered for ignoring the segregation laws of for my sin of being black. Soon after eating at a restaurant we went to reboard a segregated bus. Every stop the bus driver would step out and call someone. By the time we arrived to Wyoming there was a massive amount of policemen waiting for us. I was taken to jail and beaten unmercifully, they beat me till my hands were navy blue, I knew at that point I had to stay conscious unless Id die. I had lost some eyesight and my limping became aggravated , but still I strived.

The student nonviolent coordinating comitee were one of the principal orginizations of the American civil rights movement in the 1960’s. Sncc and Bob Moses conducted the freedom ballot, a mock electioion in whichblack mississipians would come out to show their willingness to vote. A right we had been denied, despite the 15th amendment due to a combination of state laws and constitutional provisions, that restricted us African Americans for no logical reason exactly.
Sncc followed upon the freedom ballot with the mississipi summer project , also known as freedom summer which focused on voter registration. Sncc organized us black missippians to register to vote almost always without success. White authorities blatantly rejcted our applications.
Mississipi summer got national attention when 3 civil rights workers James Chaney and Micheal Shwerner disappeared after being released from police custody. Thir bodies were eventually found dead , after a reluctant J. edger Hoover directed the fbi to search for them. In the process the FBI also found the corpses of several other missing mississipians , whose disappearances had not attracted any public attention outside of delta . I was outraged and appaled by this act these acts against black people where not only unfortunate but inhumane. I was in query Of why people would feel the need to ostracize people , when they only wanted to advance their lives from the terrible norm. When the MFDP started to organize a fight over credentials, Johnson originally would not budge. When i, the leader of the MFDP, was in the midst of testifying about the beatings the police had given to her and others for attempting to exercise their right to vote. I said’’ if the freedom party isn’t seated today , I question America. Is this America where we have to sleep with our phones of the hooks because we are threatened daily just because we are threatened daily jus cause we want to register to vote to become first class citizens. Johnson preempted television coverage of the credentials fight. Even so, her testimony had created enough uproar that Johnson offered the MFDP a "compromise": they would receive two non-voting seats, while the delegation sent by the official Democratic Party would take its seats.
Johnson used all of his resources, mobilizing Walter Reuther, one of his key supporters within the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, and his Vice-Presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey, to put pressure on Fannie Lou Hamer and other mainstream civil rights leaders to accept it but ‘’we would not accept the compromise’’. I dint come this far and work this hard to go through brutal pain to receive two measly votes. How dare Johnson call me an ‘’old ignorant woman .If they thought they could win my trust with two votes they didn’t know where I had been what I had been through and where exactly I was headed.

I went back home while they accepted the compromise. A compromise was at last concluded which gave voting and speaking rights to two members from the MFDP and others as honored guests. The democrats agreed that in the future no delegation would be seated from a state where anyone would be legally denied the right to vote. Johnson signed the voting right on august 6th 1965 a year later. My work was done, after receiving many awards and recognition I passed away due to breast cancer and abuse complications. And though my asperous experience and my adamantine inclination and demeanor I can boldly say that…..i have overcome

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