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Free entry to museums marks civil rights icon Hamer’s legacy

October 6, 2021 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Entry to two Mississippi history museums is free Wednesday to mark the birthday of the late civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer, known for saying she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

She was born Oct. 6, 1917, in Montgomery County and worked most of her life as a sharecropper. In 1962, Hamer joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and worked to register Black people to vote. Hamer was a founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which challenged the seating of the regular party’s all-white delegation at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

Hamer died of cancer March 14, 1977.

Pamela D.C. Junior is director of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History — two entities under a single roof in downtown Jackson. She said Hamer changed Mississippi and the world.

“Tenacity, inspiration and ‘never give up’ are words and phrases that Fannie Lou Hamer lived by. Her fortitude and strength brought about change for all mankind,” Junior said in a news release announcing the free admission to the two museums. “May we all live as she did by being and showing examples of good stewardship in our communities.”

Museum staff will give guided tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to discuss Hamer’s life and legacy.