Review | What Fannie Lou Hamer can teach today’s activists

Blain contends that Hamer can provide “a blueprint for tackling a range of contemporary social issues.” In chapters covering topics such as the need for public truth telling, for decentralized leadership, for centering women of color in social movements, for transnational solidarity and for a new poor people’s movement, Blain contends that Hamer can tell us what to do. The author argues that Hamer’s core message is captured in a 1971 speech in which she declared that “until I am free, you are not either.” Thus, the freedom of poor Black people in Mississippi was in the interest of everyone else, and the reverse was also true. Solidarity across social movements and a willingness to act, Blain argues, are Hamer’s true legacy.

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