Hamer, Fannie Lou Townsend
- Mamie E. Locke
Hamer, Fannie Lou Townsend (06 October 1917–14 March 1977), civil rights activist, was born in Montgomery County, Mississippi, the twentieth child of Lou Ella (maiden name unknown) and Jim Townsend, sharecroppers. When Fannie Lou was two the family moved to Sunflower County, where they lived in abject poverty. Even when they were able to rent land and buy stock, a jealous white neighbor poisoned the animals, forcing the family back into sharecropping. Fannie Lou began picking cotton when she was six; she eventually was able to pick 300 to 400 pounds a day, earning a penny a pound. Because of poverty she was forced to leave school at age twelve, barely able to read and write. She married Perry (“Pap”) Hamer in 1944. The couple adopted two daughters. For the next eighteen years Fannie Lou Hamer worked first as a sharecropper and then as a timekeeper on the plantation of B. D. Marlowe....