History has remained almost silent on the triumphs of African-American women. No more. Fannie Lou Hamer and many others are now stepping forward to tell their own stories of how they overcame the tremendous odds of poverty, racism and ignorance to change the world and make it a better place for all of us.
Fannie Lou Hamer was able to make her mark on history and change the world through her amazing courage, strong convictions, integrity, and her ability to energize, motivate, inspire, calm, and cultivate a civil rights movement through her personal story and her inspirational songs.
She was among the most significant participants in the struggle launched in the latter half of the twentieth century to achieve freedom and social justice for African Americans.
Parts of her personal story that she will share with you today covers her efforts to register to vote in 1962, her transition from share cropper to civil rights activist, and her assent to a key speaker at the 1964 National Democratic Convention.
Mrs. Hamer’s historic presence in Atlantic City at the 1964 Democratic National Convention brought national prominence with her electrifying testimony before the convention’s credentials committee. She sought to prevent the seating of the all-white Mississippi delegation. While this effort failed, the Democratic Party agreed that in the future no delegation would be seated from a state where anyone was illegally denied the vote. Roughly a year later, the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed.
Zelda Foxall is a professional storyteller and has been telling stories professionally since 1994. She has been a featured teller at Seattle Folklife and other storytelling venues such as festivals, churches, school assemblies, conferences and even a wedding. She is also a former board member of the Seattle Storytellers Guild.
In 2000, she transitioned from telling stories to doing in-character vignettes of historically significant African American Women through a performing arts company she co-founded called “Cause It’s Art.” Zelda meticulously researches her subjects and through her, these women step forward to tell their own stories.