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

Donella Wilson, 107-Year-Old Daughter of a Slave, Ready to Cast Her Vote Once More

Donella Wilson

Donella Wilson WISTV SCREENSHOT (photo via theroot.com)

article by via theroot.com

Donella Wilson, at 107 years old, has never missed a local or national election since she cast her first vote in the 1940s.  And Wilson, who was born in South Carolina to parents who were former slaves, says she is ready to cast her vote one more time and perhaps make history once again.

“I never thought I would live to see a day like this,” Wilson told WISTV.com. “I’m over 100 years old!”

Wilson has had to struggle some recently to retain her right to vote. She had to secure a new ID and registration card, but now she is ready and prepared for her opportunity to say something, and is heading to the polls, not just to back up her beliefs, but to remember those who came before who fought for the right she currently has.

“We couldn’t spell ‘vote,’” Wilson told the news station. “We didn’t know what the word meant other than we had an opportunity to say something and cast a vote, praying as we go along, that the vote could count to help us as a Negro race.”

Wilson said she remembers President Barack Obama’s historic election, expressing how “proud and thankful” she was to witness it.

And she hopes to witness history once again on Tuesday, saying that she planned to cast her vote for Hillary Clinton.  “I’m looking for her to be our first female president,” she said. “I think it’s an honor, a precious gift from God.”

To read more, go to: http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/11/107-year-old-daughter-of-a-slave-ready-to-cast-her-vote-once-more/

Duke University Debuts Website Documenting SNCC & the Voting Rights Struggle

Vq1ywrurDuke University in Durham, North Carolina, has just debuted a new website documenting the struggle of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to secure voting rights for African Americans. The site, entitled “One Person, One Vote: The Legacy of the SNCC and the Fight for Voting Rights,” went live one week before the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” voting rights march in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965.

Students and faculty at Duke University worked with veterans of SNCC and other civil rights leaders to develop the website. The site includes a timeline, profiles of the key figures in the struggle to secure voting rights, and stories relating to the struggle.

5193ppoofzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Wesley Hogan, the director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and the author of Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC’s Dream for a New America (University of North Carolina Press, 2007), stated that “this is an enormous achievement, to find ways to bring these experts who were so central to the voting rights struggle, into the formal historical record through their own words and on their own terms. The project comes at a moment when our nation is both commemorating key victories of the civil rights movement and seeing those victories challenged by new restrictive voting laws in many states.”

 

article via jbhe.com

Election Day: Have You Voted? #AllVotesMatter #BlackVotesMatter

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Just a quick reminder if you haven’t found a moment to make it to the polls yet today, there’s still time!  GBN Lifestyle/Sports Editor Lesa Lakin and I have taken the #blackwomenvote initiative seriously and hit the polls already – fortunately we had good weather – we hope you can find time to do the same if you haven’t already.  Voting is important… as our history and the poster below remind us:

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If you don’t like your local, state or federal laws or officials, get out there and help foster change by making your voice heard.  If you’re not sure where your polling place is, click here to enter your address and find out!

Onward and upward, together!

Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Join the #BlackWomenVote Campaign – Midterms in November Really Matter

Voters Head To Polls For DC's Primary (Photo: Getty)

Voters Head To Polls For DC’s Primary (Photo: Getty)

The Higher Heights Leadership Fund is on a mission to get more black women to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. The 2012 presidential elections had the biggest turnout for black women, with black women consisting of nearly 60% of black voters who participated. They actually had the highest turnout of any group.

And yet the number isn’t nearly the same for midterm elections. Just 46.5% of black women voted in the 2010 midterms. It’s not easy to get people excited or interested in midterm elections, but these elections do matter.

It’s incredibly important to create a more representative democracy in our country. That goes for those who vote as well as those we elect. And black women are underrepresented in our government.

So the Higher Heights Leadership Fund started the #BlackWomenVote campaign in order to get more black women to the polls during these upcoming midterm elections.

#BlackWomenVote provides information about voting and the election, like “Pledge to be a Higher Heights Voter,” “Personal Voting Plan,” “Knowing your Voter Status,” “Sister-to-Sister Calling List,” and “Activate your Online Network.”

“Black women have the potential to take this country by storm. We have the collective power to elect representatives who will champion our interests and support legislative actions that will that will improve education, health care and economic opportunities for our communities,” the Black Women Vote website states.

It’s so important to get out and vote and make our government a more representative one.

This is the only way to ensure that every voice is heard. Voters have the opportunity to make sure that their interests are being taken into account and that they have someone speaking up for those interests. The midterm elections might not seem as important as a Presidential election, but they really could have a big affect on people’s lives. Will you join #BlackWomenVote?

article by Robin Lempel via act.mtv.com

 

Attorney General Eric Holder Calls for Ex-Felons to Get Their Voting Rights Back

eric holder

Attorney General Eric Holder called on a group of states Tuesday to restore voting rights to ex-felons, part of a push to fix what he sees as flaws in the criminal justice system that have a disparate impact on racial minorities.

“By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes,” Holder said during a speech at a criminal justice reform event hosted by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center on Tuesday. “They undermine the reentry process and defy the principles of accountability and rehabilitation that guide our criminal justice policies. And however well-intentioned current advocates of felony disenfranchisement may be, the reality is that these measures are, at best, profoundly outdated.”

From the Washington Post:

Holder said that current laws forbidding felons from voting make it harder for them to reintegrate into society. He pointed to a recent study, which showed that felons in Florida who were granted the right to vote again had a lower recidivism rate. …

Holder does not have the authority to force states to change their laws, but his request could influence the debate to restore voting rights. His appeal is part of a broader effort currently underway by the Justice Department to reform the criminal justice system, which U.S. officials say often treats minority groups unfairly.

Eleven states currently restrict voting rights after a person has been released from prison and is no longer on probation and parole. These laws affect about 5.8 million Americans. It’s estimated that 2.2 million are black citizens—or nearly one in 13 African-American adults. 

“It is unwise, it is unjust, and it is not in keeping with our democratic values,” Holder said. “These laws deserve to be not only reconsidered, but repealed.”

article via clutchmagonline.com

 

Eric Holder Wants Voting Rights Act Provision Upheld by Supreme Court

Eric Holder

WASHINGTON (AP) — On April 4th, the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, Attorney General Eric Holder challenged the Supreme Court to uphold a key section of the Voting Rights Act that requires all or part of 15 states with a history of discrimination to get federal clearance before carrying out changes in elections.

Holder made the comments Thursday in a speech to a civil rights group whose founder and president is the Rev. Al Sharpton. Focusing on issues he regards as important during President Barack Obama’s second term in office, Holder vowed to protect the voting rights of all Americans, safeguard young people from gun violence and improve the criminal justice system.

Opponents of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 say the pre-clearance requirement has outlived its usefulness. Starting in 2009, the Supreme Court made clear its skepticism about the present-day need for the provision. The court is considering a challenge on the issue from Shelby County, Ala., near Birmingham.

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