Fannie Lou Hammer isn’t a legend by happenstance. The passionate civil, voting and women’s rights activist rose to iconic status because she did iconic things. The youngest of 20 children born to sharecropper parents, Hamer wasn’t a stranger to being trampled by white supremacy. She dedicated her life to fighting for economic and political justice and equality. She also wasn’t shy about expressing her opinion or going toe to toe with those who differed in thought.
The Mississippi native only lived to be 59 and died 44 years ago in 1977, but Hamer’s legacy lives on through the impact of her activism and her words – many of which are still relevant today. One of Hamer’s best-known quotes used by people everywhere is “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Here are 10 more top quotes from legendary political thinker Fannie Lou Hamer.
“Sometimes it seem like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I’ll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom. I’m not backing off.”
“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
“We have to build our own power. We have to win every single political office we can, where we have a majority of Black people…”
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“I feel sorry for anybody that could let hate wrap them up. Ain’t no such thing as I can hate anybody and hope to see God’s face.”
“What I really feel is necessary is that the Black people in this country will have to upset this apple cart. We can no longer ignore the fact that America is not the… land of the free and the home of the brave.”
“The only thing we can do, women and men, whether you [are] white or Black, is to work together.”
“The only way we can make this thing of equality a reality in America is to do all we can to destroy this system and bring this out to the light that has been under the cover all these years.”
“With the people, for the people, by the people. I crack up when I hear it; I say, ‘With the handful, for the handful, by the handful,’ cause that’s what really happens.”
“I have just as much right to stay in America – in fact, the Black people have contributed more to America than any other race because our kids have fought here for what was called democracy.”
“You can pray until you faint, but unless you get up and try to do something, God is not going to put it in your lap.”