80+ Best Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Fannie Lou Hamer was an African-American voting and women’s rights activist, and a leader in the civil rights movement. She was the co-founder and vice-chair of the Freedom Democratic Party, which she represented at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Inspirational Fannie Lou Hamer quotes will make you feel ready to take on anything and encourage you to stand for what you believe in.

If you’re searching for wise quotes by prominent activists that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of famous David Walker quotes, powerful Marcus Garvey quotes, and Dolores Huerta quotes.

Most Famous Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes

If the white man gives you anything – just remember when he gets ready, he will take it right back. We have to take for ourselves. – Fannie Lou Hamer

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. – Fannie Lou Hamer

You can pray until you faint, but unless you get up and try to do something, God is not going to put it in your lap. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Sometimes it seem like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I’ll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom. I’m not backing off. – Fannie Lou Hamer

The President of Guinea, Sekou Toure, came to see us on the 13th. Now you know, I don’t know how you can compare this by me being able to see a President of a country when I have just been there two days; and here I have been in America, born in America, and I am 46 years pleading with the President for the last two to three years to just give us a chance-and this President in Guinea recognized us enough to talk to us. – Fannie Lou Hamer

It would bring tears in your eyes to make you think of all those years, the type of brain-washing that this man will use in America to keep us separated from our own people. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Nobody’s free until everybody’s free. – Fannie Lou Hamer

We serve God by serving our fellow man; kids are suffering from malnutrition. People are going to the fields hungry. If you are a Christian, we are tired of being mistreated. – Fannie Lou Hamer

There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people. – Fannie Lou Hamer

One night I went to the church. They had a mass meeting. And I went to the church, and they talked about how it was our right, that we could register and vote. They were talking about we could vote out people that we didn’t want in office, we thought that wasn’t right, that we could vote them out. That sounded interesting enough to me that I wanted to try it. I had never heard, until 1962, that black people could register and vote. – Fannie Lou Hamer

When they asked for those to raise their hands who’d go down to the courthouse the next day, I raised mine. Had it high up as I could get it. I guess if I’d had any sense I’d have been a little scared, but what was the point of being scared? The only thing they could do to me was kill me and it seemed like they’d been trying to do that a little bit at a time ever since I could remember. – Fannie Lou Hamer

The landowner said I would have to go back to withdraw or I would have to leave and so I told him I didn’t go down there to register for him, I was down there to register for myself. – Fannie Lou Hamer

on northern racism, speaking in New York: The man’ll shoot you in the face in Mississippi, and you turn around he’ll shoot you in the back here. – Fannie Lou Hamer

In nationally televised testimony to the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Convention, 1964: If the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America? The land of the free and the home of the brave? Where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hook, because our lives be threatened daily. – Fannie Lou Hamer

When the Democratic National Committee offered a compromise in 1964 to seat 2 delegates of the 60+ sent by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party: We didn’t come for no two seats when all of us is tired. – Fannie Lou Hamer

to Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, who brought a compromise offer to the MFDP delegates: Do you mean to tell me that your position is more important than four hundred thousand black people’s lives? … Now if you lose this job of Vice-President because you do what is right, because you help the MFDP, everything will be all right. God will take care of you. But if you take it this way, why, you will never be able to do any good for civil rights, for poor people, for peace, or any of those things you talk about. Senator Humphrey, I’m going to pray to Jesus for you. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Question to her mother when she was a child: Why weren’t we white? – Fannie Lou Hamer

We are sick and tired of our people having to go to Vietnam and other places to fight for something we don’t have here. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Hamer biographer Kay Mills: If Fannie Lou Hamer had had the same opportunities that Martin Luther King had, then we would have had a female Martin Luther King. – Fannie Lou Hamer

June Johnson: I’m amazed at how she put fear in the hearts of powerful people like Lyndon B. Johnson. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Constance Slaughter-Harvey: Fannie Lou Hamer made me realize that we’re nothing unless we can hold this system accountable and the way we hold this system accountable is to vote and to take an active note to determine who our leaders are. – Fannie Lou Hamer

The only thing I really feel is necessary is that the black people, not only in Mississippi, will have to actually upset this applecart. What I mean by that is, so many things are under the cover that will have to be swept out and shown to this whole world, not just to America. This thing they say of the land of the free and the home of the brave is all on paper. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Now many things are beginning to come out and it was truly a reality to me when I went to Africa, to Guinea. The little things that had been taught to me about the African people, that they were heathens, savages, and they were just downright stupid people. But when I got to Guinea, we were greeted by the Government of Guinea, which is Black People – and we stayed at a place that was the government building, because we were the guests of the Government. – Fannie Lou Hamer

All of this is on account we want to register [sic], to become first-class citizens, and if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily because we want to live as decent human beings – in America? – Fannie Lou Hamer

My parents would make huge crops of sometimes 55 to 60 bales of cotton. Being from a big family where there were 20 children, it wasn’t too hard to pick that much cotton. But my father, year after year, didn’t get too much money and I remember he just kept going. – Fannie Lou Hamer

I think there will be great leaders emerging from the State of Mississippi. The people that have the experience to know and the people not interested in letting somebody pat you on the back and tell us I think it is right. And it is very important for us not to accept a compromise and after I got back to Mississippi, people there said it was the most important step that had been taken. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Actually since the Convention I have gotten so many letters that I have tried to answer but every letter said they thought this decision, not to accept the compromise, was so important. There wasn’t one letter I have gotten so far that said we should have accepted the compromise – not one. – Fannie Lou Hamer

I used to question this for years – what did our kids actually fight for? They would go in the service and go through all of that and come right out to be drowned in a river in Mississippi. I found this hypocrisy is all over America. – Fannie Lou Hamer

In fact, one day I was going to Jackson and I saw a huge sign that U.S. Senator John Stennis was speaking that night for the White Citizens Council in Yazoo City and they also have a State Charter that they may set up for private schools. It is no secret. – Fannie Lou Hamer

You know what really made me sick? I was in Washington, D.C. at another time reading in a paper where the U.S. gives Byron de la Beckwith – the man who is charged with murdering Medgar Evers – they were giving him so much money for some land and I ask Is this America? We can no longer ignore the fact that America is NOT the land of the free and the home of the brave. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Actually, some of the things I experienced as a child still linger on; what the white man has done to the black people in the south! – Fannie Lou Hamer

No. What would I look like fighting for equality with the white man? I don’t want to go down that low. I want the true democracy that’ll raise me and that white man up raise America up. – Fannie Lou Hamer

I saw how the Government was run there [in Africa] and I saw where black people were running the banks. I saw, for the first time in my life, a black stewardess walking through a plane and that was quite an inspiration for me. – Fannie Lou Hamer

You know the Scripture says be not deceived for God is not mocked; whatsoever a man sow that shall he also reap. And one day, I don’t know how they’re going to get it, but they’re going to get some of it back. They are scared to death and are more afraid now than we are. – Fannie Lou Hamer

We are here to work side-by-side with this black man in trying to bring liberation to all our people! – Fannie Lou Hamer

We worked all the time, just worked and then we would be hungry and my mother was clearing up a new ground trying to help feed us for $1.25 a day. She was using an axe, just like a man, and something flew up and hit her in her eye. It eventually caused her to lose both of her eyes and I began to get sicker and sicker of the system there. I used to see my mother wear clothes that would have so many patches on them, they had been done over and over and over again. She would do that, but she would try to keep us decent. – Fannie Lou Hamer

I was treated much better in Africa than I was treated in America. And you see, often I get letters like this: Go back to Africa. – Fannie Lou Hamer

I don’t know about the press, but I know in the town where I live everybody was aware that I was in Africa, because I remember after I got back some of the people told me that Mayor Dura of our town said he just wished they would boil me in tar. – Fannie Lou Hamer

But you see now baby, whether you have a ph.d., d.d. or no d, we’re in this bag together. And whether you are from Morehouse or Nohouse, we’re still in this bag together. – Fannie Lou Hamer

This white man who is saying it takes time. For three hundred and more years they have had time, and now it is time for them to listen. – Fannie Lou Hamer

America that is divided against itself cannot stand, and we cannot say we have all of this unity they say we have when black people are being discriminated against in every city in America I have visited. – Fannie Lou Hamer

A black woman’s body was never hers alone. – Fannie Lou Hamer

To support whatever is right, and to bring in justice where weve had so much injustice. – Fannie Lou Hamer

if I fall, I will fall five-feet four-inches forward in the fight for freedom. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Actually, the world and America is upset and the only way to bring about a change is to upset it more. – Fannie Lou Hamer

[On her Freedom Farm Cooperative:] If you give a hungry man food, he will eat it. [But] if you give him land, he will grow his own food. – Fannie Lou Hamer

It is our right to stay here and we will stay and stand up for what belongs to us as American citizens, because they can’t say that we haven’t had patience. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Some things I found out in the National Convention I wasn’t too glad I did find out. But we will work hard, and it was important to actually really bring this out to the open, the things I will say some people knew about and some people didn’t; this stuff that has been kept under the cover for so many years. Actually, the world and America is upset and the only way to bring about a change is to upset it more. – Fannie Lou Hamer

White Americans today don’t know what in the world to do because when they put us behind them, that’s where they made their mistake… they put us behind them, and we watched every move they made. – Fannie Lou Hamer

We didn’t come all the way up here to compromise for no more than we’d gotten here. We didn’t come all this way for no two seats, ’cause all of us is tired. – Fannie Lou Hamer

I remember, and I will never forget, one day – I was six years old and I was playing beside the road and this plantation owner drove up to me and stopped and asked me could I pick some cotton. I told him I didn’t know, and he said, Yes, you can. I will give you things that you want from the commissary store, and he named a huge list that he called off. I picked the 30 pounds of cotton that week, but I found out what actually happened was he was trapping me into beginning the work I was to keep doing and I never did get out of his debt again. – Fannie Lou Hamer

We have been listening year after year to [white people] and what have we got? We are not even allowed to think for ourselves. I know what is best for you, but they don’t know what is best for us! It is time now to let them know what they owe us, and they owe us a great deal. – Fannie Lou Hamer

People have got to get together and work together. I’m tired of the kind of oppression that white people have inflicted on us and are still trying to inflict. – Fannie Lou Hamer

[My father] did get enough money to buy mules. We didn’t have tractors, but he bought mules, wagons, cultivators and some farming equipment. As soon as he bought that and decided to rent some land, because it was always better if you rent the land, but as soon as he got the mules and wagons and everything, somebody went to our trough – a white man who didn’t live very far from us – and he fed the mules Paris Green, put it in their food and it killed the mules and our cows. – Fannie Lou Hamer

These people in Mississippi State, they are notdown; all they need is a chance. And I am determined to give my part not for what the Movement can do for me, but what I can do for the Movement to bring about a change in the State of Mississippi. – Fannie Lou Hamer

[My mother] tried so hard to make life easy for us. Those are the things that forced me to try to do something different and when this Movement came to Mississippi I still feel it is one of the greatest things that ever happened because only a person living in the State of Mississippi knows what it is like to suffer; knows what it is like to be hungry; knows what it is like to have no clothing to wear. – Fannie Lou Hamer

I always said if I lived to get grown and had a chance, I was going to try to get something for my mother and I was going to do something for the black man of the South if it would cost my life; I was determined to see that things were changed. – Fannie Lou Hamer

My mother was a great woman. To look at her from the suffering she had gone through to bring us up – 20 children: 6 girls and 14 boys, but still she taught us to be decent and to respect ourselves, and that is one of the things that has kept me going, even after she passed. – Fannie Lou Hamer

When I liberate myself, I liberate others. If you don’t speak out ain’t nobody going to speak out for you. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Christianity is being concerned about [others], not building a million-dollar church while people are starving right around the corner. Christ was a revolutionary person, out there where it was happening. That’s what God is all about, and that’s where I get my strength. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Never to forget where we came from and always praise the bridges that carried us over. – Fannie Lou Hamer

We have to build our own power. We have to win every single political office we can, where we have a majority of black people… The question for black people is not, when is the white man going to give us our rights, or when is he going to give us good education for our children, or when is he going to give us jobs-if the white man gives you anything-just remember when he gets ready he will take it right back. We have to take for ourselves. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Whether you have a Ph.D., or no D, we’re in this bag together. And whether you’re from Morehouse or Nohouse, we’re still in this bag together. Not to fight to try to liberate ourselves from the men – this is another trick to get us fighting among ourselves – but to work together with the black man, then we will have a better chance to just act as human beings, and to be treated as human beings in our sick society. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Black people know what white people mean when they saylaw and order. – Fannie Lou Hamer

I feel sorry for anybody that could let hate wrap them up. Ain’t no such thing as I can hate anybody and hope to see God’s face. – Fannie Lou Hamer

I have just as much right to stay in America – in fact, the black people have contributed more to America than any other race, because our kids have fought here for what was calleddemocracy; our mothers and fathers were sold and bought here for a price. So all I can say when they saygo back to Africa,I saywhen you send the Chinese back to China, the Italians back to Italy, etc., and you get on that Mayflower from whence you came, and give the Indians their land back, who really would be here at home? – Fannie Lou Hamer

With the people, for the people, by the people. I crack up when I hear it; I say, with the handful, for the handful, by the handful, cause that’s what really happens. – Fannie Lou Hamer

I guess if I’d had any sense, I’d have been a little scared [to register to vote] – but what was the point of being scared? The only thing they could do was kill me, and it kinda seemed like they’d been trying to do that a little bit at a time since I could remember. – Fannie Lou Hamer

If I am truly free, who can tell me how much of my freedom I can have today? – Fannie Lou Hamer

Righteousness exalts a nation. Hate just makes people miserable. – Fannie Lou Hamer

It’s time for America to get right. – Fannie Lou Hamer

Hate won’t only destroy us. It will destroy these people that’s hating as well. – Fannie Lou Hamer

You don’t have to like everybody, but you have to love everybody. – Fannie Lou Hamer

If this is a Great Society, I’d hate to see a bad one. – Fannie Lou Hamer

just because people are fat, it doesn’t mean they are well fed. The cheapest foods are the fattening ones, not the most nourishing. – Fannie Lou Hamer

One day I know the struggle will change. There’s got to be a change-not only for Mississippi, not only for the people in the United States, but people all over the world. – Fannie Lou Hamer

… some of my people could have been left [in Africa] and are living there. And I can’t understand them, and they don’t know me and I don’t know them because all we had was taken away from us. And I became kind of angry; I felt the anger of why this had to happen to us. We were so stripped and robbed of our background; we wind up with nothing. – Fannie Lou Hamer

The methods used to take human lives, such as abortion, the pill, the ring, etc., amounts to genocide. I believe that legal abortion is legal murder… – Fannie Lou Hamer

Our foreparents were mostly brought from West Africa. We were brought to America and our foreparents were sold; white people bo ught them; white people changed their names my maiden name is supposed to be Townsend, but really, what is my maiden name? What is my name? – Fannie Lou Hamer

You know I’m not hung up on this liberating myself from theblackman – I’m not going to try that thing. – Fannie Lou Hamer

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