The Mississippi Sharecropper Who Helped Black Americans Win Voting Rights

Fannie Lou Hamer's Legacy Reminds Us That Everyday People Can Effect Change—Even When the Nation Is Impossibly Divided

Though Black people represented 50 percent of Mississippi’s voting age population in 1964, Jim Crow literacy tests, poll taxes, violence, and intimidation had managed to all but silence their political power at the polls. Now, adding to their disenfranchisement, white Southern Democrats were proposing seating an all-white delegation at that year’s Democratic National Convention.

Fannie Lou Hamer—a poor, middle-aged, Black sharecropper—wasn’t having it. That August, she testified before a convention committee, alongside better-known civil rights activists, including Martin Luther King Jr., and demanded the right to represent the citizens of Mississippi …

The Black Freedom Seekers Who ‘Managed to Shape Their Own Destinies’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Black Freedom Seekers Who ‘Managed to Shape Their Own Destinies’

The Many and Varied Attempts by African Americans to Escape Bondage in the Lower Mississippi Valley Tell a Larger Narrative

The Lower Mississippi Valley begins at Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio River flows into the Mississippi, and extends south to the Head of Passes 100 miles below New Orleans, where …

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Here’s How to Join “How Do Oppressed People Build Community?”

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University of North Carolina historian William Sturkey, winner of the 10th annual Zócalo Public Square Book Prize for Hattiesburg: An American City in Black …

Historian William Sturkey Wins the 10th Annual Zócalo Book Prize  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Historian William Sturkey Wins the 10th Annual Zócalo Book Prize 

Hattiesburg, an Intimate Look at a Segregated Southern City, Delivers a ‘Finely Woven Microcosm of American Society’

Since 2011, the Zócalo Public Square Book Prize has honored the author of the U.S. nonfiction book published in the previous year that best enhances our understanding of community and …

The African American ‘Hidden Figures’ Who Desegregated the South’s Public Libraries

In Jackson, Blacks Endured Beatings and Dog Attacks to Gain Entrance, While in Birmingham They Used Sit-Ins to State Their Case

Historians of the civil rights era, between 1954 and 1968, have crafted an impressive body of literature focusing on the resolve of young black community activists who bravely resisted racial …

How the South Uses Its ‘Anti-Union Arsenal’ to Keep Workers From Organizing

At a Mississippi Nissan Plant, New Global Owners Wield Old Local Politics Against the United Auto Workers

The crushing rejection on August 5 of a United Auto Workers bid to organize a 6,500-worker Nissan assembly plant near Canton, Mississippi seemed to present the proverbial déjà vu …