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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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“If the Name of the Game Is Survive, Survive,”

“If the Name of the Game Is Survive, Survive,”

Speech Delivered in Ruleville, Mississippi, September 27, 1971

(p.140) “If the Name of the Game Is Survive, Survive,”
The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer

Maegan Parker Brooks

Davis W. Houck

University Press of Mississippi

In 1971, Fannie Lou Hamer ran for the Mississippi Senate as an Independent against two-term Democratic incumbent Robert Crook, along with twelve other local black candidates, under the Concerned Citizens of Sunflower County to Elect Black Officials. However, Hamer and her fellow candidates all lost in the elections. On September 27, 1971, Hamer addressed an audience in Ruleville, Mississippi, to express her indignation. This chapter reproduces Hamer’s speech, in which she also hoped of an interracial future and borrowed Malcolm X’s rhetoric, “the ballot or the bullet.” Hamer argued that racism would be dealt with by “men and government” or by “men and guns,” and while she favored the former, she did not rule out violence. Furthermore, she stressed that blacks and whites must work together to achieve racial harmony. Finally, she referred to James Forman’s “Black Manifesto,” a reparation plan for white churches amounting to $500 million, to emphasize the need for whites to aid blacks in economic development.

Keywords:   speech, Fannie Lou Hamer, Mississippi, elections, racism, blacks, whites, James Forman, Black Manifesto, economic development

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