Fannie Lou Hamer
"I think we’re in a battle for America’s soul," the former vice president said in a nod to the late Fannie Lou Hamer.
“She died too soon putting her body on the line for our freedom and we want to celebrate her life in a big way."
Funded from his own pocket, 34-year-old Mel Waters devised the project for himself and executed it on city walls (and one delivery truck) to pay tribute to famous African Americans during Black History Month.
The mosaic that is America cannot be condensed into a single narrative, or for that matter a single month. A nation formed on the basis of an idea (equality) must also possess the maturity to withstand the tension that is created organically by competing perspectives within the same event.
Despite their influence at the polls, black women's concerns are undervalued in contemporary political campaigns. Few presidential candidates have been vocal about black women's vulnerability to state-sanctioned violence. Candidates who ignore black women voters do so at their own peril.
Although none of these 20 women were elected to office, they all had a great influence on public opinion and public policy. The reformers profiled below exercised influence not only because of the number of people they mobilized, but also because of the moral force of their ideas.
Through daily moral consciousness we must all counter the proliferating voices of racial and ethnic and religious division that are regaining too much respectability over the land.
Fifty years ago, civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer spoke before the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City
To understand both the progress America has made, and the many challenges it now faces, in terms of racial justice, it is useful to remind ourselves of the battle that occurred a half century ago and the life of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer.
'Is This America?': 50 Years Ago Sharecroppers Challenged Mississippi Apartheid, LBJ, and the Nation
This question of citizenship and political representation is as important today as it was then -- yet the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party is not even mentioned in many major U.S. history textbooks.
I salute everyone who, through broad coalition, came today to congregate at the Lincoln Memorial. As you seek the change, you too are the change.