GirlTrek Mobilizing #FanniesArmy to Walk Across Major Cities on Oct. 6 to Honor Civil Rights Activist Fannie Lou Hamer

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Civil Rights activist and grass roots hero Fannie Lou Hamer would have turned 100 years old this October 6.  GirlTrek, the largest national public health nonprofit and movement for Black women and girls, is celebrating her legacy by hosting 100 national walks.

Known for her courage on the frontlines of the American Civil Rights Movement, Hamer stunned the world with her electrifying account of brutal attacks and local terror in the Jim Crow South. She stood strong, demanding the attention of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson by leading an unparalleled grassroots campaign and political party in Mississippi that delivered over 60,000 votes. Fannie Lou Hamer is responsible for helping secure the 1965 Voting Rights Act and changing the tide of justice.

The scale of her impact is made greater by her life story. Fannie Lou Hamer worked as a sharecropper from age 6. As a young woman, in an extralegal, violent act, she was given a forced hysterectomy. Unbroken, she adopted children. At 44 years old, Fannie Lou Hamer joined the American Civil Rights Movement. From church basements to the White House, Hamer was celebrated for her ability to inspire everyday people to action.

“In the iconic words of Fannie Lou Hamer, we’re ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired.’ She died too soon putting her body on the line for our freedom and we want to celebrate her life in a big way. In her honor, we are going to raise an army of sisters, #FanniesArmy, who will lead 100 walks across America at sunset on October 6th,” said GirlTrek cofounder T. Morgan Dixon.

To participate in #FanniesArmy, walk for 100 minutes at sunset on October 6th wherever you are with family and friends. To be counted, register your walk at https://rebrand.ly/fanniesarmy. The first 100 leaders to sign up will receive special edition #FanniesArmy T-shirts.

“While the country reels from conflict in Charlottesville, this is an opportunity to herald the legacy of an American hero who brought us together,” Dixon said. “Fannie Lou Hamer died too early at 59, her body riddled with heart disease and cancer. I’m reminded of the words of R. Boylorn, [Hamer] ‘never saw death coming because she was too busy taking care of others.’ She worked tirelessly in field offices and late hours registering people to vote. When pain rendered her homebound, she taught Freedom Riders the ways of resistance in her night gown from her front porch.”

Dixon and GirlTrek’s cofounder Vanessa Garrison, national staff and board of directors will travel to Hamer’s memorial statue in her hometown in Ruleville, Mississippi to walk with local trekkers on the centennial celebration of her birth.
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Civil Rights Icon Fannie Lou Hamer Biopic to be Scripted by “Remember The Titans” Writer Gregory Allen Howard

Fannie Lou Hamer (photo via powerpacplus.org)

by Mike Fleming Jr. via deadline.com

Remember the Titans scribe Gregory Allen Howard has teamed with Chris Columbus1492 production company to tell the story of Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper with a sixth-grade education who became an important voting-rights advocate and founded the first integrated political party in the South in mid-’60s Mississippi.

Hamer grew up in a family of 20 kids and picked cotton for most of her life. After going to a doctor to have a tumor removed, she discovered she was given a hysterectomy at age 47 by a white doctor, without her consent, because of a movement by the state to sterilize women to reduce the number of poor blacks in Mississippi.

Hamer became a Civil Rights activist, surviving assassination attempts

Gregory Allen Howard (photo via deadline.com)

and a near-fatal beating to get her moment at the Democratic National Convention, where she challenged President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 with her legendary, “Is This America?” speech.

While LBJ hastily called a ruse press conference in the hope of diverting attention away from her speech, Hamer’s powerful words were widely broadcast and reverberated around the world. Howard, who studied Hamer’s accomplishments as a college student, has long been obsessed with bringing her story to the screen. Hamer died in 1977.

To read more, go to: Civil Rights Icon Fannie Lou Hamer Movie; Gregory Allen Howard script | Deadline

Los Angeles Neurosurgeon Dr. Lindsey Ross Accepted into Prestigious White House Fellows Program

Lindsay Moss (photo courtesy Cedars-Sinai)

Dr. Lindsey Ross (photo courtesy Cedars-Sinai)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center resident neurosurgeon Lindsey Ross, MD, a member of Cedars’ Neurological Surgery Residency Program, has won a coveted position as a 2016-2017 White House Fellow.

Ross will spend the next year in Washington DC working in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and participating in roundtable discussions with top government leaders, including President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

“I feel so grateful for this opportunity. I know I will learn a great deal about healthcare, leadership and policymaking next year, which I hope to bring back to Cedars-Sinai and the greater Los Angeles community that we serve,” Ross said.

The White House Fellows Program was founded in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to offer extraordinary leaders firsthand experience working at the highest levels of the federal government. Graduates include former Secretary of State Colin Powell, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and CNN medical correspondent and neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta.

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Obama To Visit Selma in March for 50th Anniversary of Voting Rights Marches

President Barack Obama will visit Selma, Ala., to commemorate the 50th anniversary of historic marches led by civil activists fighting against segregation and seeking to secure African Americans’ right to vote, according to Reuters.

A White House official said Tuesday that the president will make the visit on March 7 as part of his administration’s efforts to highlight the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the report says. Also according to Reuters:

The law, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson 50 years ago this August, banned literacy tests and other tactics used in the U.S. South to block racial minorities from voting. The White House official said more details of Obama’s trip would be announced later.

The 1965 marches from Selma to Alabama’s capital of Montgomery were organized by civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. to draw national attention to the disenfranchisement of Black voters.

Alabama state troopers tried to stop the protests by attacking the marchers with tear gas and clubs. The violent media images from the marches shocked the nation and eventually spurred the Congress to pass the voting rights legislation.

The marches in 1965 are receiving renewed attention this year after the recent release of the movie, “Selma,” which highlights the campaign leading up to the historic march. On Friday, President Obama hosted a screening of the movie at the White House. Among others, Oprah Winfrey, who produced and had a role in the film, was invited.

article via newsone.com

50 Years Later, Obama Salutes Effects of Civil Rights Act

President Obama, with Michelle Obama, the library director, Mark K. Updegrove, left, and Representative John Lewis. (DOUG MILLS/THE NEW YORK TIMES)

President Obama, with Michelle Obama, the library director, Mark K. Updegrove, left, and Representative John Lewis. (DOUG MILLS/THE NEW YORK TIMES)

AUSTIN, Tex. — For three days, the veterans of a long-ago movement reunited and drew together their spiritual heirs to explore the legacy of the Civil Rights Act a half-century after it transformed America. And then the legacy walked onstage.

President Obama presented himself on Thursday as the living, walking, talking and governing embodiment of the landmark 1964 law that banned discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin.

In a speech that stirred an audience of civil rights champions here at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, Mr. Obama acknowledged that racism has hardly been erased and that government programs have not always succeeded. But, he added, “I reject such cynicism because I have lived out the promise of L.B.J.’s efforts, because Michelle has lived out the legacy of those efforts, because my daughters have lived out the legacy of those efforts.”

Thanks to the law and the movement that spawned it and the progress made after it, Mr. Obama said, “new doors of opportunity and education swung open for everybody,” regardless of race, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation. “They swung open for you, and they swung open for me,” he said. “And that’s why I’m standing here today, because of those efforts, because of that legacy.”

The president’s speech marking the 50th anniversary of the law Johnson signed in July 1964 was one more moment for Mr. Obama to address his own role in history. Though Mr. Obama often seemed reluctant to be drawn into discussions of race relations in his first term, insistent on being the president of everyone, he has been more open in talking about it since winning re-election.

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Eight Fascinating Facts About Martin Luther King Jr.

The Martin Luther King Memorial is seen

At this time of year there are many different posts about Martin Luther King Jr.  Here are eight facts that are not commonly discussed:

Fact 1:  He was born Michael Luther King, Jr. January 15, 1929 in  Atlanta, Georgia.

Fact 2:  His father, Michael King, Sr., changed their names to Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr. when Martin Jr. was about five.

Fact 3: King was the youngest person, at the time, to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Fact 4:  King authored six books published from 1958 through 1968, works on American race relations and collections of his sermons and lectures.

Fact 5: King stood behind President Lyndon B. Johnson as Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.

Fact 6: Senate investigations revealed that the FBI illegally bugged King’s hotel rooms and home phone from 1962-1968.

Fact 7:  An ongoing controversy over the inscription on the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial which says “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”, is taken from a 1968 King sermon, “If you want to say I was a drum major, say I was a drum major for justice, say I was a drum major for peace, I was a drum major for righteousness and all the other shallow things will not matter.”, at issue is also the cost to repair, change or delete the inscription.

Fact 8:  King met with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, along with Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, and Lester Grange on problems affecting black Americans. Making it an  interesting  fact that he actually met with two presidents about Civil Rights at different times.

article by Oretha Winston via theurbandaily.com