Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes

Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977)

Fannie Lou Hamer with Congressional Aide Malcolm Diggs, 1965
Fannie Lou Hamer with Congressional Aide Malcolm Diggs, 1965. Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images

Fannie Lou Hamer, called the "spirit of the Civil Rights Movement," led the way with organizing ability, music, and stories, helping to win the right to vote for African Americans in the South.

See: Fannie Lou Hamer Biography

Selected Fannie Lou Hamer Quotations

• I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.

• To support whatever is right, and to bring in justice where we've had so much injustice.

• Nobody's free until everybody's free.

• We serve God by serving our fellow man; kids are suffering from malnutrition. People are going to the fields hungry. If you are a Christian, we are tired of being mistreated.

• Whether you have a Ph.D., or no D, we're in this bag together. And whether you're from Morehouse or Nohouse, we're still in this bag together. Not to fight to try to liberate ourselves from the men -- this is another trick to get us fighting among ourselves -- but to work together with the black man, then we will have a better chance to just act as human beings, and to be treated as human beings in our sick society.

• There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people.

• 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. They were talking about we could vote out people that we didn't want in office, we thought that wasn't right, that we could vote them out. That sounded interesting enough to me that I wanted to try it. I had never heard, until 1962, that black people could register and vote.

• When they asked for those to raise their hands who'd go down to the courthouse the next day, I raised mine. Had it high up as I could get it. I guess if I'd had any sense I'd've been a little scared, but what was the point of being scared? The only thing they could do to me was kill me and it seemed like they'd been trying to do that a little bit at a time ever since I could remember.

• 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.

• I am determined to get every Negro in the state of Mississippi registered.

• They just kept beating me and telling me, "You nigger bitch, we're gonna make you wish you were dead." ... Every day of my life I pay with the misery of that beating.

on northern racism, speaking in New York: The man'll shoot you in the face in Mississippi, and you turn around he'll shoot you in the back here.

in nationally-televised testimony to the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Convention, 1964: If the Freedom Democratic Party 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 the hook, because our lives be threatened daily.

When the Democratic National Committee offered a compromise in 1964 to seat 2 delegates of the 60+ sent by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party: We didn't come for no two seats when all of us is tired.

to Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, who brought a compromise offer to the MFDP delegates: Do you mean to tell me that your position is more important than four hundred thousand black people's lives? ... Now if you lose this job of Vice-President because you do what is right, because you help the MFDP, everything will be all right. God will take care of you. But if you take it this way, why, you will never be able to do any good for civil rights, for poor people, for peace, or any of those things you talk about. Senator Humphrey, I'm going to pray to Jesus for you.

Question to her mother when she was a child: Why weren't we white?

• 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.

Quotes About Fannie Lou Hamer:

Hamer biographer Kay Mills: If Fannie Lou Hamer had had the same opportunities that Martin Luther King had, then we would have had a female Martin Luther King.

June Johnson: I'm amazed at how she put fear in the hearts of powerful people like Lyndon B. Johnson.

Constance Slaughter-Harvey: Fannie Lou Hamer made me realize that we’re nothing unless we can hold this system accountable and the way we hold this system accountable is to vote and to take an active note to determine who our leaders are.

More About Fannie Lou Hamer

About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2023, April 5). Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes. Retrieved from Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 30, 2023).