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The Speeches of Fannie Lou HamerTo Tell It Like It Is$
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Maegan Parker Brooks and Davis W. Houck

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781604738223

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604738223.001.0001

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“Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free,”

“Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free,”

Speech Delivered at the Founding of the National Women’s Political Caucus, Washington, D.C., July 10, 1971

(p.134) “Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free,”
The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer

Maegan Parker Brooks

Davis W. Houck

University Press of Mississippi

In the late 1960s, black and white women were both inspired and disillusioned by the movements for social change. The centuries-long struggle for gender equality was reinvigorated by their experiences within civil rights, Black Power, and newly formed student organizations. Fannie Lou Hamer challenged core aspects of the women’s liberation movements, especially the feminists’ one-dimensional view of relations between the sexes and their stances on birth control and other aspects of reproductive rights. Hamer expressed her concerns in a speech delivered at the founding meeting of the National Women’s Political Caucus in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 1971. This chapter reproduces Hamer’s speech, in which she pays tribute to black women in Mississippi who “started the ball rolling” with regard to civil rights activism and to white women who recently “woke up” to white male patriarchal oppression. Hamer also talked about the Vietnam War, malnutrition in Mississippi, and the “dope” pandemic consuming the nation’s young people.

Keywords:   black women, white women, social change, civil rights, Fannie Lou Hamer, women’s liberation movements, speech, National Women’s Political Caucus, Mississippi, activism

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