Discussion of Two Books about Fannie Lou Hamer

Subject: Civil Rights, SNCC, Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, Oral History
Themes: Civil Rights 21st Century 20th Century Journalism and Media
Age groups: High School Homeschooling
Resource type: Video

Here are two different and excellent books on Fannie Lou Hamer. This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer by Kay Mills, a book particularly apt for young adults. And, The Senator and the Sharecropper by Chris Myers Asch.

Watch Kay Mills talk about her book, This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer.

Reviewer Comments: The award-winning biography of black civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. ""Riveting. Provides a history that helps us to understand the choices made by so many black men and women of Hamer's generation, who somehow found the courage to join a movement in which they risked everything."" --New York Times Book Review

"One is forced to pause and consider that this black daughter of the Old South might have been braver than King and Malcolm."" --Washington Post Book World

"An epic that nurtures us as we confront today's challenges and helps us Keep Hope Alive." --Jesse L. Jackson

"Not only does This Little Light of Mine recount a vital part of America's history, but it lights our future as readers are inspired anew by Mrs. Hamer's spirit, courage, and commitment." --Marian Wright Edelman

"This book is the essence of raw courage. It must be read." --Rep. John Lewis

Watch Chris Myers Asch talk about his book, The Senator and the Sharecropper.

Publisher Comments: In this fascinating study of race, politics, and economics in Mississippi, Chris Myers Asch tells the story of two extraordinary personalities--Fannie Lou Hamer and James O. Eastland--who represented deeply opposed sides of the civil rights movement. Both were from Sunflower County: Eastland was a wealthy white planter and one of the most powerful segregationists in the U.S. Senate, while Hamer, a sharecropper who grew up desperately poor just a few miles from the Eastland plantation, rose to become the spiritual leader of the Mississippi freedom struggle. Asch uses Hamer and Eastland's entwined histories, set against a backdrop of Sunflower County's rise and fall as a center of cotton agriculture, to explore the county's changing social landscape during the mid-twentieth century and its persistence today as a land separate and unequal. Asch, who spent nearly a decade in Mississippi as an educator, offers a fresh look at the South's troubled ties to the cotton industry, the long struggle for civil rights, and unrelenting social and economic injustice through the eyes of two of the era's most important and intriguing figures.