Civil rights

Documentary on Mississippi civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer to air in February


JACKSON, Mississippi – A documentary about Mississippi Delta sharecropper and civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer will open the 10th season of Emmy-winning PBS series America ReFramed.

Produced by Hamer’s great-niece, Monica Land and Selena Lauterer, and directed by Joy Davenport, “Fannie Lou Hamer’s America” ​​follows Hamer’s life story and the injustices against black people against which she stood. pronounced. The film will premiere on February 22, according to a WORLD Channel statement.

“For 10 years, America ReFramed has shone the spotlight on a transforming America, bringing audiences into increasingly diverse communities and introducing them to people whose stories are often overlooked by the general public,” said Chris Hastings , WORLD Channel executive producer / editor at GBH in Boston.

Born in the height of the Jim Crow era, Hamer began her activism in the 1950s by attending civil rights conferences. She fought for equal rights for black citizens and encouraged black people to register to vote.

After taking the national stage in 1964 at the Democratic National Convention and detailing the injustices and racism she faced in the cotton fields through speeches, Hamer helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus and has been proactive in the fight for justice for black women as well.

His humanitarian efforts have helped provide housing, education programs, and food to scores of people in the Mississippi Delta.

More than 40 years after Hamer’s death from breast cancer and other medical complications on March 14, 1977, her story is told through her own words, Land said.

In 2005, distant memories of his great-aunt Hamer led Land to consider making a documentary focusing on Hamer’s personal life. She began collecting stories from her family with her cousin, Sylla Hamer, about two years later. Land said that over the past 17 years, the team have come across newspaper articles that they were not previously aware of and overcame many obstacles, including securing funding for the film.

“It was a very long, difficult and emotional journey,” Land said.

Unlike other documentaries about her great-aunt which focused primarily on Fannie Lou Hamer’s political and humanitarian efforts narrated by those who worked with her or distant relatives, Land’s vision for the film was to bring life to the light. personal story of Fannie Lou Hamer.

Although the film features Fannie Lou Hamer’s political activities, it incorporates unpublished personal letters from Hamer and interviews with Hamer’s last living adopted daughter, Jacqueline Hamer Flakes.

The film – assembled by a team of civil rights academics, historians and Hamer’s family members – uses video footage of Hamer’s public speeches, personal interviews and songs, according to the film’s website .

“‘Fannie Lou Hamer’s America’ is a powerful film, which illustrates the challenges and sacrifices so many people face in the struggle for the right to vote,” said Sylvia Bugg, Program Director and General Manager of PBS.

In addition to the documentary, individuals can learn more about Hamer’s legacy through the website – – which includes a plethora of material on the human rights activist.

The film and television series will be available to stream on the WORLD Channel’s YouTube channel, and on all PBS platforms, including and the PBS Video app, according to the press release.

The film will premiere on PBS at 8 p.m. on February 22. It will then air on the WORLD Channel at 7 p.m. on February 24.