I Question America

fannie lou hamerOn August 24, 1964, one of America’s most important narratives was unfolding. It’s a story that the Democrats want you to forget. It was a time in their history that is marked by shame and acquiescence to Southern Democrats that refused to give up segregation and ignored the African American vote in the political process.

It’s been 50 years, and the same kind of select group of Southern Democrats wanting to hold onto the power by plugging in their own friends or malleable figureheads into local and state positions continues in the state of Florida. Right now there is a group of African American women who have formed the Democratic African American Women’s Caucus (DAAWC). The Florida Democrats refuse to certify the group. Worse, many are doing their best to destroy the reputation of its founder, Leslie Wimes by calling her a race-baiter for even starting the group.

It’s not surprising that African American women feel disenfranchised after the Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin verdicts. Issues that affect African American families are rarely brought forth and even if they are, African American women rarely hold the political offices that can legislate change. Most recently, TheFloridaSqueeze.com posted an attack article about Wimes.

The writer, Katy Burnett is the President of the Gainesville, Florida Chapter of the National squeezeOrganization for Women (NOW). I am personally calling for her impeachment, especially after this comment within the article: “With a quick internet search you will discover she is also Leslie Harris and is associated with a fair number of scandals.” Shameful. How far have we come that the president of a NOW chapter is actually doing her best to assassinate┬áthe character of an African American leader?

I did a search on Whois to find out who owned ThFloridaSqueeze.com. The owner is Beth Lerner, treasure of the National Women’s Political Caucus. She is the the President of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Florida. She did reach out to Wimes regarding the DAAWC, but after the post above, her motives are questionable. When I sent her a tweet about her blog, she insisted it was her husband’s. I pulled the screenshot showing her as the registered owner. The next day, she reported my @1000Girlfriends Twitter account, falsely stating that I posted personal info. The info was public.

The irony, of course, is that Fannie Lou Hamer helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus. In fact, she gave the speech

In July 1971, 300 women from 26 states met at the Statler Hilton Hotel in Washington DC to found the NWPC in order to get more women elected to political offices. Present were Myrlie Evers, Shirley Chisholm, Gloria Steinem, Kay Clarenbach, Bella Abzug, Betty Freidan, Dorothy Height, Beulah Sanders and LaDonna Harris. But today if you go to the NWPC website and search for Fannie Lou Hamer’s name, this is what you’ll find:

 

NWPC Hamer

No reference at all to Fannie Lout Hamer. What did she do? She took on the Democratic party as a woman AND as a black woman just months after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. In my opinion, she was as courageous as her male counterpart Martin Luther King, Jr. and she endured beatings from the minute she began to sign up friends and others to vote.

Read her remarkable story at Sheownsit.com and PASS IT ON. Close our eyes and listen to her impassioned speech below.

 

 

Mr. Chairman, and to the Credentials Committee, my name is Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, and I live at 626 East Lafayette Street, Ruleville, Mississippi, Sunflower County, the home of Senator James O. Eastland, and Senator Stennis.

It was the 31st of August in 1962 that eighteen of us traveled twenty-six miles to the county courthouse in Indianola to try to register to become first-class citizens. We was met in Indianola by policemen, Highway Patrolmen, and they only allowed two of us in to take the literacy test at the time. After we had taken this test and started back to Ruleville, we was held up by the City Police and the State Highway Patrolmen and carried back to Indianola where the bus driver was charged that day with driving a bus the wrong color.

After we paid the fine among us, we continued on to Ruleville, and Reverend Jeff Sunny carried me four miles in the rural area where I had worked as a timekeeper and sharecropper for eighteen years. I was met there by my children, who told me the plantation owner was angry because I had gone down — tried to register.

After they told me, my husband came, and said the plantation owner was raising Cain because I had tried to register. And before he quit talking the plantation owner came and said, “Fannie Lou, do you know — did Pap tell you what I said?”

And I said, “Yes, sir.”

He said, “Well I mean that.” Said, “If you don’t go down and withdraw your registration, you will have to leave.” Said, “Then if you go down and withdraw,” said, “you still might have to go because we’re not ready for that in Mississippi.”

And I addressed him and told him and said, “I didn’t try to register for you. I tried to register for myself.”

I had to leave that same night.

On the 10th of September 1962, sixteen bullets was fired into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Tucker for me. That same night two girls were shot in Ruleville, Mississippi. Also, Mr. Joe McDonald’s house was shot in.

And June the 9th, 1963, I had attended a voter registration workshop; was returning back to Mississippi. Ten of us was traveling by the Continental Trailway bus. When we got to Winona, Mississippi, which is Montgomery County, four of the people got off to use the washroom, and two of the people — to use the restaurant — two of the people wanted to use the washroom.

The four people that had gone in to use the restaurant was ordered out. During this time I was on the bus. But when I looked through the window and saw they had rushed out I got off of the bus to see what had happened. And one of the ladies said, “It was a State Highway Patrolman and a Chief of Police ordered us out.”

I got back on the bus and one of the persons had used the washroom got back on the bus, too.

As soon as I was seated on the bus, I saw when they began to get the five people in a highway patrolman’s car. I stepped off of the bus to see what was happening and somebody screamed from the car that the five workers was in and said, “Get that one there.” And when I went to get in the car, when the man told me I was under arrest, he kicked me.

I was carried to the county jail and put in the booking room. They left some of the people in the booking room and began to place us in cells. I was placed in a cell with a young woman called Miss Ivesta Simpson. After I was placed in the cell I began to hear sounds of licks and screams. I could hear the sounds of licks and horrible screams. And I could hear somebody say, “Can you say, ‘yes, sir,’ nigger? Can you say ‘yes, sir’?”

And they would say other horrible names.

She would say, “Yes, I can say ‘yes, sir.'”

So, well, say it.”

She said, “I don’t know you well enough.”

hey beat her, I don’t know how long. And after a while she began to pray, and asked God to have mercy on those people.

And it wasn’t too long before three white men came to my cell. One of these men was a State Highway Patrolman and he asked me where I was from. And I told him Ruleville. He said, “We are going to check this.” And they left my cell and it wasn’t too long before they came back. He said, “You are from Ruleville all right,” and he used a curse word. And he said, “We’re going to make you wish you was dead.”

I was carried out of that cell into another cell where they had two Negro prisoners. The State Highway Patrolmen ordered the first Negro to take the blackjack. The first Negro prisoner ordered me, by orders from the State Highway Patrolman, for me to lay down on a bunk bed on my face. And I laid on my face, the first Negro began to beat me.

And I was beat by the first Negro until he was exhausted. I was holding my hands behind me at that time on my left side, because I suffered from polio when I was six years old.

After the first Negro had beat until he was exhausted, the State Highway Patrolman ordered the second Negro to take the blackjack.

The second Negro began to beat and I began to work my feet, and the State Highway Patrolman ordered the first Negro who had beat to sit on my feet — to keep me from working my feet. I began to scream and one white man got up and began to beat me in my head and tell me to hush.

One white man — my dress had worked up high — he walked over and pulled my dress — I pulled my dress down and he pulled my dress back up.

I was in jail when Medgar Evers was murdered.

All of this is on account of we want to register, to become first-class citizens. And if the is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off of the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?

Thank you.

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