Fannie Lee Hamer: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

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Hamer was an informal bridge leader for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. When activists Annelle Ponder and Septima Clark came to Mississippi to teach people about voting registration, Hamer’s attention was sparked. A few weeks later, Hamer and a few other citizen of Mississippi set off to Charleston, South Carolina to share what they learned. They planned on teaching classes on voter registration. The group consisted of John Brown, Bernard Washington, Euvester Simpson, June Johnson, Rosemary Freeman, James West, Annelle Ponder, and Hamer herself. This trip was about more than just teaching voter registration. The group set out to also test their limits with segregated bus terminals as well as with food counters (Lee 1999).
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Not only was she verbally assaulted, but she was subjected to assault by other prisoners, black prisoners at that. Fannie Lou Hamer was also sexually assaulted, as she was trying to pull her dress down during that vicious, barbaric beating, they kept pulling her clothing back up sexualizing her and embarrassing her (Lee 1999).
Aside from the physical beating and permanent damage to her body, we cannot ignore the sexual undertones that stuck in the mind of Hamer. Hamer’s dress was repeatedly raised, while another activist was forced to undress and a male activist almost had his penis burned. Hamer however never put emphasis on these parts of the story. When she told the story she focused more on the violence that arose simply based because of their race.
The effects of structural intersectionality are very rampant through this story. It was the race and gender of Hamer that allowed these police officers to treat her in this manner. It was obviously her race that played a part in this tragic event in Hamer’s life. The numerous racial slurs that that Hamer and the other activists were subjected to made it clear that the crime was racially motivated. Her womanhood was stripped of her during this event as well. She was not given the decency of being treated like a lady because of her skin color. If Hamer was a white woman she would not have experienced Winona in the manner that she did, she would not have been subjected to that assault. So in this case it’s impossible to separate her race from her

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