Memphis, TN, September 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The National Civil Rights Museum introduces its book and author to New York Times bestselling author Dr. Keisha N. Blain, Until I Am Free: Enduring Message to America Series on Wednesday October 6. Scheduled for release on October 5, the book is a highly anticipated mix of biography and social commentary on the milestone moments of the civil rights activist.
In Until I’m Free, Blain sheds light on Hamer’s life, ideas and political strategies, situating her as a key political thinker of the civil rights movement alongside Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, John Lewis and Rosa Parks. Blain draws heavily on Hamer’s own words, bringing to life this poor black activist who refused to be sidelined, intimidated, or settle for anything less than full justice.
In rural Mississippi in 1962, at the age of 44 and with just a 6th grade education, Fannie Lou Hamer had a political awakening and became an activist of a lifetime. Having been the victim of forced sterilization the previous year, she began to fight relentlessly for the suffrage of black Americans and against white supremacy, surviving brutal beatings by police and private citizens, as well as ‘to be shot in an almost fatal attempt on his life. From the start of Hamer’s activism later in life to the violence inflicted on him by white supremacists to his rousing speech at the 1964 Democratic Convention, his boldness and radical honesty were consistent, and his insistence that social justice must come from the bottom up. a position often at odds with the hierarchical leadership within the civil rights movement of the time.
“Fannie Lou Hamer is an icon of the civil rights movement,” said Dr Noelle Trent, director of interpretation, collections and education at the museum. Dr. Blain’s work offers a breathtaking in-depth look at Hamer’s work and strategy, placing Hamer as a crucial strategic mind in the Mississippi Freedom Movement. We are honored to host the launch of this stellar work.
It has been over 40 years since Fannie Lou Hamer’s death in 1977, but his words still speak the truth to power. Hamer’s life and tireless efforts show how we could continue the fight for the still unrealized ideals of the country and against its police brutality, voter suppression and economic inequality.
“When we don’t talk about popular activists like Fannie Lou Hamer, we twist our history beyond recognition and make it even more difficult for future generations to learn from the past,” Blain said. “When we focus only on a handful of well-known figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcolm X, we miss the many ways that ordinary men and women have fought for change at the local level – within their communities and within their own spheres of influence. It is crucial that all Americans know this, because it shows extremely clearly that ordinary people, including those with limited formal education and few material resources, can in fact play an important role in shaping American society. “
Dr Keisha N. Blain is an award-winning 20th century US historian with broad interests and specializations in African American history, the modern African diaspora, and women and gender studies. She received a doctorate in history from Princeton University. She is Associate Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh and President of the African American Intellectual History Society. She is also a columnist for MSNBC, covering race, gender and politics from historical and contemporary perspectives. She is currently a 2020-2021 Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University and a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study.
The October 6 book discussion event is moderated by journalist, political strategist and media commentator Donna Brazile. The event is organized in partnership with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, an independent, non-partisan law and policy research organization.
A signed copy of Until I’m Free is available for purchase in the museum’s online store. The Book & Author Series virtual event takes place at 6:00 PM Central and is free and open to those who register online. For more information, visit civilrightsmuseum.org.
Until I’m Free — Cover
Connie Dyson National Civil Rights Museum 9013315460 [email protected]
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