#OTD: March 14, 1977, Fannie Lou Hamer died. Her life, and also her death, remind us that the path of justice is often one of trials and tragedy. Just 59 when she died, she suffered from many maladies including chronic injuries from a brutal beating by police in a jail in 1963.
She died in a hospital in Mound Bayou, Mississippi from a combination of breast cancer, diabetes and hypertension. Mound Bayou was a beacon of Black independence and one of the few medical facilities that would admit Black people and employ Black healthcare professionals.
Although she worked tirelessly to raise funds for her several runs for political office in Mississippi and for her many projects to help the poor. She had few people around her at her death (though thousands at the funeral) and others had to help pay for her funeral expenses.
Much of Fannie Lou Hamer's hardship came about because she remained steadfastly committed to poor people--Black and white--and never, ever left the Mississippi Delta. Even in the cradle of white supremacy, Hamer, like many Black people, knew she had a right to be there.
Though Fannie Lou Hamer had everything working against her in an unjust society--she was poor, she was Black, and she was a woman--she also had an indomitable faith and a courage that wouldn't quit. The life of a liberator is not a glamorous one, but it is a life well-lived.