Breathing life into Fannie Lou Hamer’s famous quote, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” poet Mahogany L. Browne interpreted the iconic activist’s statement for a moving poem that sums up Hamer’s impact.
Directed by Cecil McDonald, Jr., Browne is dressed in an all-white outfit as her powerful words cover listeners and describe the pivotal force that was Hamer. The activist was an important figure and voice of the civil rights movement and championed women’s rights through her work with the National Council of Negro Women, and the National Women’s Political Caucus. The community organizer also helped to educate voters during the 1964 Democratic National Convention through the Freedom Democratic Party, which sought to drastically change Mississippi’s voting laws that didn’t benefit black voters which deliberately exed them out of the voting process.
Browne states below:
Fannie Lou Hamer is a Black woman who should be celebrated year-round. She is a staple to my own foundation when considering who I am as a Black woman, a Black mother and often disregarded darker citizen written about by Langston Hughes. Fannie Lou Hamer’s activism is boundaryless: she served with a group demanding access to the ballot for Black people in 1962; she put her body in harm’s way during sit-ins in a “white only“ restaurant that resulted in life-long injuries; she organized with the Freedom Summer project in 1964, and is named one of the first Black women to stand in the US Congress in 1965. She founded projects that spoke for a disenfranchised and violently oppressed people including the National Woman Political Caucus to her final project: The Freedom Farm Cooperative, which provided pigs for raising, breeding and slaughtering, land for families and economic freedom for Black farmers. Hamer is lauded for her propensity to gather the people, her voice a righteous tool, she gave her life to this continuous fight for racial equality.
Listen to the poem below.