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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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“What Have We to Hail?,”

“What Have We to Hail?,”

Speech Delivered in Kentucky, Summer 1968

(p.74) “What Have We to Hail?,”
The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer

Maegan Parker Brooks

Davis W. Houck

University Press of Mississippi

In the summer of 1968, Fannie Lou Hamer addressed a predominantly white audience in Kentucky in which she shared her first attempt at voter registration. This chapter reproduces Hamer’s speech, which highlighted both the absurd arbitrariness of Jim Crow justice and the potentially lethal consequences of expressing one’s citizenship rights in the Mississippi Delta. Hamer also talked about her nationally prominent roles at Atlantic City in 1964 and her attempts to win a congressional seat in 1965, as well as the murder of Emmett Till. Furthermore, she called for interracial unity and defended the ideal of integration from the erroneous attacks of its detractors.

Keywords:   speech, Fannie Lou Hamer, Kentucky, voter registration, Jim Crow, justice, citizenship rights, Mississippi, murder, Emmett Till

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