91 Best Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes from the Civil Rights Activist

Fannie Lou Hamer, born in 1917 in Mississippi to sharecroppers, became a leading voice in the civil and voting rights movements.

Raised in poverty, she worked on a plantation where she became its timekeeper due to her literacy skills.

In 1961, she was forcefully sterilized, a common act to reduce the Black population. Inspired by civil rights activists, Hamer joined the SNCC and faced brutal repression when trying to register Black voters.

In 1964, she co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to challenge racial exclusion in politics.


She advocated for African American voter registration, tried running for the Mississippi House and was part of Mississippi’s first integrated delegation by 1968.

Later, Hamer focused on economic strategies for racial equality, creating projects like the “pig bank” and the Freedom Farm Cooperative, benefiting Black farmers. She passed away in 1977 at age 59.

Here is a top collection of quotes by Fannie Lou Hamer.

Best Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes


I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.


Nobody’s free until everybody’s free. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.


I’m showing the people that a Negro can run for office. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.


If this is a great society, I’d hate to see a bad one. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.


Y’all is nice. You must be Christian people. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.


We want a change in this society in America because you see, we can no longer ignore the facts. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

That’s why I want to change Mississippi. You don’t run away from problems – you just face them. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.


I know lots of people in Mississippi who have lost their jobs trying to register to vote. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Righteousness exalts a nation. Hate just makes people miserable. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

They beat me ’till my body was hard, ’till I couldn’t bend my fingers, or get up when they told me to. That’s how I got this blood clot in my left eye – the sight’s nearly gone now, and my kidney was injured from the blows they gave me in the back. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

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. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Why weren’t we White? ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

If you don’t go down and withdraw your registration, you will have to leave. We are not ready for that in Mississippi. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.


Every red stripe in that flag represents the Black man’s blood that has been shed. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer..

I’d been in jail, and I’d been beat. I had been to a voter registration workshop, you know, to – they were just training and teaching us how to register, to pass the literacy test. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Never to forget where we came from and always praise the bridges that carried us over. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

All of this is on account we want to register, to become first-class citizens, and if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

The only thing they could do to me was to kill me, and it seemed like they’d been trying to do that a little bit at a time ever since I could remember. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Famous Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes

My parents tried so hard to do what they could to keep us in school, but school didn’t last but four months out of the year, and most of the time, we didn’t have clothes to wear. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.


If you are a Christian, we are tired of being mistreated. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

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. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Just because people are fat, it doesn’t mean they are well fed. The cheapest foods are the fattening ones, not the most nourishing. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

We have in Sunflower County 1400 children that we were able to get out of the ghettos, out of the country, and most of these children had never seen a commode in their lives. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

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. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.


We didn’t come all this way for no two seats, ’cause all of us are tired. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

We have been listening year after year to White people, and what have we got? We are not even allowed to think for ourselves. ‘I know what is best for you,’ but they don’t know what is best for us! It is time now to let them know what they owe us, and they owe us a great deal. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

I am determined to give my part not for what the movement can do for me, but what I can do for the movement to bring about a change in the State of Mississippi. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Inspiring Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes

Hate won’t only destroy us. It will destroy these people that’s hating as well. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

We didn’t come all the way up here to compromise for no more than we’d gotten here. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

I am determined to get every Negro in the state of Mississippi registered. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

People have got to get together and work together. I’m tired of the kind of oppression that White people have inflicted on us and are still trying to inflict. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

The American Government can’t protect minorities, but when a White man is killed in the Congo, they send people there. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

We want ours, and we want ours now. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

So many things are under the cover that will have to be swept out and shown to this whole world, not just to America. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

The man will shoot you in the face in Mississippi, and you turn around, he’ll shoot you in the back here. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.


If I am truly free, who can tell me how much of my freedom I can have today? ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

I have walked through the shadows of death because it was on the 10th of September in ’62 when they shot 16 times in a house, and it wasn’t a foot over the bed where my head was. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

You see if you are professional and if you are a non-professional, if you are not giving service to your fellow man, well, you can be as fancy-dressed as you want to be, but just don’t go to church because it’s no good because we are our brother’s keeper. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

It would bring tears in your eyes to make you think of all those years, the type of brainwashing that this man will use in America to keep us separated from our own people. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

A Black woman’s body was never hers alone. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Top Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes

Black people know what White people mean when they say, ‘Law and order.’ ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

It’s time for America to get right. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

I was treated much better in Africa than I was treated in America. And you see, often I get letters like this, ‘Go back to Africa.’ ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

I had never heard until 1962 that Black people could register and vote. I remember that until this day, and I won’t forget it. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

If you give a hungry man food, he will eat it. But if you give him land, he will grow his own food. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

One day, I know the struggle will change. There’s got to be a change – not only for Mississippi, not only for the people in the United States but people all over the world. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

These people in Mississippi State, they are not down. All they need is a chance. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

I always said if I lived to get grown and had a chance, I was going to try to get something for my mother, and I was going to do something for the Black man of the South if it would cost my life. I was determined to see that things were changed. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

The landowner said I would have to go back to withdraw, or I would have to leave, and so I told him I didn’t go down there to register for him. I was down there to register for myself. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

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. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Popular Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes

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. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

We are sick and tired of our people having to go to Vietnam and other places to fight for something we don’t have here. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

A couple of years ago, White people were shooting at Negroes trying to register. Now, they say, ‘Go ahead and register – then you’ll starve.’ ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

To support whatever is right, and to bring injustice where we’ve had so much injustice. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

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. The question for Black people is not when is the White man going to give us our rights, or when is he going to give us good education for our children, or when is he going to give us jobs. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

It is only when we speak what is right that we stand a chance at night of being blown to bits in our homes. Can we call this a free country when I am afraid to go to sleep in my own home in Mississippi? ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

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. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Actually, some of the things I experienced as a child still linger on – what the White man has done to the Black people in the south! ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Great Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes

I don’t want equal rights with the White man. If I did, I’d be a thief and a murderer. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

When I liberate myself, I liberate others. If you don’t speak out, ain’t nobody going to speak out for you. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

A White man killed the mules and our cows that knocked us right back down, and things got so tough that I began to wish I was White. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Whether you have a Ph. D. or no D. we’re in this bag together. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

I believe in Christianity because the scriptures said, ‘The things that have been done in the dark will be known on the housetops.’ ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

We serve God by serving our fellow man. Kids are suffering from malnutrition. People are going to the fields hungry. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

If the White man gives you anything, just remember when he gets ready, he will take it right back. We have to take for ourselves. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

This thing they say of the land of the free and the home of the brave is all on paper. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Because a house divided against itself cannot stand, and today, America is divided against itself because they don’t want us to have even the ballot here in Mississippi. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

We plan to bring some changes in the South, and as we bring changes in the South, the Northern White politician won’t have any excuse and nowhere to hide. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

It is our right to stay here, and we will stay and stand up for what belongs to us as American citizens because they can’t say that we haven’t had patience. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Thought-Provoking Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes

Sin is beginning to reproach America today, and we want what is rightfully ours. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Is this America? The land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily because we want to live as decent human beings in America? ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

The methods used to take human lives, such as abortion, the pill, the ring, etc., amounts to genocide. I believe that legal abortion is legal murder. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Actually, the world and America is upset, and the only way to bring about a change is to upset it more. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

One night, I went to the church. They had a mass meeting, and I went to the church, and they talked about how it was our right that we could register and vote. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

We cannot say we have all of this unity they say we have when Black people are being discriminated against in every city in America I have visited. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

We are here to work side-by-side with this Black man in trying to bring liberation to all our people! ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

This White man who is saying, ‘It takes time.’ For 300 and more years, they have had ‘time,’ and now it is time for them to listen. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Profound Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes

On the 10th of September 1962, 16 bullets was fired into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Tucker for me. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

The type of education that we get in the state of Mississippi will make our minds so narrow it won’t coordinate with our big bodies. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

Sometimes, it seems 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. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

What I’m trying to point out now is when you take a very close look at this American society, it’s time to question these things. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

I might not live two hours after I get back home, but I want to be a part of setting the Negro free in Mississippi. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

I was forced away from the plantation because I wouldn’t go back and withdraw, you know, my literacy test after I had tried to take it. I wouldn’t go back. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

White Americans today don’t know what in the world to do because when they put us behind them, that’s where they made their mistake. They put us behind them, and we watched every move they made. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.


You don’t have to like everybody, but you have to love everybody. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

When I walked in with the two White men that had carried me down, and they cursed me all the way down. They would ask me questions, and when I would try to answer, they would tell me to hush. ~ Fannie Lou Hamer.

So these were the 91 top Fannie Lou Hamer quotes on farming, voting, justice and freedom.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Chadwick Boseman quotes and Kid Cudi quotes.

Short Biography of Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer was a passionate civil rights activist from Mississippi who championed voting and women’s rights from 1962 until her health declined in 1971.

Fannie Lou Hamer

he co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus and played key roles in the Freedom Democratic Party and Mississippi’s Freedom Summer.

Despite facing extreme racism, she persisted in registering African-Americans to vote and fought against segregation.

Born into a sharecropping family, Hamer’s early life was marked by hard labor and a love for reading, but her education was cut short to support her family.

Full Name Fannie Lou Townsend
Born 6 October 1917, Montgomery County, Mississippi, United States
Died 14 March 1977 (age 59 years), Taborian Hospital, Mound Bayou, Mississippi, U.S.
Burial place Ruleville, Mississippi, U.S.
Children 4
Spouse Perry Hamer (m. 1944–1977)
Parents Ella Townsend, James Lee Townsend
Title Vice chairwoman of Freedom Democratic Party; Co-founder of National Women’s Political Caucus
Organizations founded Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, Freedom Farm Cooperative, National Women’s Political Caucus
Awards Inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame
Hall of fame induction Year 1993

Her activism began after enduring a forced sterilization, a common practice against African-American women in Mississippi.

Hamer’s determination was evident in her repeated attempts to register to vote, overcoming literacy tests and poll taxes.

She passed away in 1977 and was later honored by induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Quick Facts about Fannie Lou Hamer

  • Fannie Lou Hamer was born on October 6, 1917, in Mississippi.
  • She grew up in a sharecropping family, the youngest of 20 children.
  • Hamer started working in the fields at age six.
  • She had to stop her education at the sixth grade to help her family.
  • In 1942, she married Perry “Pap” Hamer.
  • Her civil rights activism began in 1962 with the SNCC.
  • Hamer was fired for trying to register to vote and failed a literacy test.
  • She became a SNCC field secretary and registered to vote in 1963.
  • Co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964.
  • Testified at the 1964 Democratic National Convention about civil rights abuses.
  • Hamer’s speech was initially blocked from TV by President Johnson but later gained wide exposure.
  • She published her autobiography, “To Praise Our Bridges,” in 1967.
  • Hamer was active in opposing the Vietnam War and worked to improve economic conditions in Mississippi.
  • She was a co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus.
  • Hamer’s activism included promoting voting and women’s rights and community organizing.
  • She was involved in organizing Mississippi’s Freedom Summer.
  • Hamer faced extortion, threats, and physical assaults for her activism.
  • She helped thousands of African-Americans in Mississippi to register to vote.
  • Ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1964 and Mississippi State Senate in 1971.
  • Led legal action against Sunflower County, Mississippi, for segregation in 1970.
  • Hamer died on March 14, 1977, and was posthumously inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993.
  • She excelled in reading and interpreting Bible study, which influenced her speaking skills.
  • Hamer was sterilized without her consent in 1961, a common practice in Mississippi at the time.
  • She and her husband adopted two girls and later adopted two more children.
  • Became more involved in civil rights after attending RCNL conferences in the 1950s.
  • Hamer’s efforts in voter registration were initially met with significant challenges, including a literacy test and poll tax requirements.
  • She was known for her powerful speeches, often infused with spiritual hymns and quotes.
  • Hamer advocated for economic empowerment and land accessibility for African Americans.
  • She founded the Freedom Farm Cooperative in 1969 to support black farmers.
  • In her later years, Hamer co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus and emphasized the power of women as a voting majority.

Top Questions about Fannie Lou Hamer

Q: What is Fannie Lou Hamer known for?

A: Fannie Lou Hamer is celebrated for her significant role in the civil and voting rights movements, advocating for African American rights and economic opportunities.

Q: At what age was Fannie Lou Hamer sterilized without her consent?

A: At 44, during surgery for a tumor removal in 1961, Hamer was sterilized without her consent as part of Mississippi’s forced sterilization policy.

Q: How did Fannie Lou Hamer impact the world?

A: Hamer improved lives for poor minorities through organizing food cooperatives and services, and continued her political activism by helping to start the National Women’s Political Caucus in the 1970s.

Q: Is Fannie Lou Hamer considered a hero?

A: Yes, Fannie Lou Hamer is hailed as a Civil Rights Movement hero for her unwavering dedication and impactful changes for her community.

Q: What kind of treatment did Fannie Lou Hamer receive?

A: Hamer faced brutal treatment, including a jailhouse beating in 1963 after working to register Black voters, which she detailed at the convention.

Q: What inspired Fannie Lou Hamer to get involved in activism?

A: Hamer was inspired by SNCC workers to try and register to vote, which led to her being fired and threatened for her determination.

Q: What happened to Fannie Lou Hamer’s daughter?

A: Jacqueline Hamer Flakes, Hamer’s last surviving daughter, passed away at 56 after a long battle with breast cancer in 2023.

Q: Was Fannie Lou Hamer ever enslaved?

A: No, but she was the granddaughter of enslaved people, born into a sharecropping family in Mississippi in 1917.

Q: What did Fannie Lou Hamer do in her early life?

A: Born into a large sharecropping family, Hamer started working in the fields at six and left school in sixth grade due to poverty and racial exploitation.

Q: What was Fannie Lou Hamer’s message?

A: Hamer encouraged everyone to “get up and try to do something” for change, drawing from her own life’s hardships and activism.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar