Exhibition Reveals the Role of Fannie Lou Hamer and Clarie Collins Harvey in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement

Poster of Fannie Lou Hamer for community center event, circa 1968.

Poster of Fannie Lou Hamer for community center event, circa 1968.

Fannie Lou Hamer and Clarie Collins Harvey, two extraordinary women from two different strata of society, used their leadership and influence to guide the civil rights movement in Mississippi. Harvey, a wealthy and highly-educated businesswoman and Hamer, a determined sharecropper and frontline activist, led Mississippians on a path of economic, social and political equality.

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Amistad Research Center is proud to announce its exhibition “Empowered Women: Fannie Lou Hamer, Clarie Collins Harvey and the Mississippi Freedom Movement” currently on display now through December 19, 2014. This exhibition highlights the participation of women in the Civil Rights Movement by displaying the papers of Fannie Lou Hamer and Clarie Collins Harvey. By viewing and analyzing the correspondence, photographs, political ephemera, and organizational documents of Hamer and Harvey, we can understand the class, gender, and racial dynamics that influenced the trajectories of their activism.

Documents in Hamer papers include records of the Freedom Farm Corporation (FFC), the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), and the Delta Ministry. Documents in the Harvey papers include records of Womanpower Unlimited, Church Women United, and the Mississippi Small Business Development Center.

Portrait of Clarie Collins Harvey at desk,  circa 1968.

Portrait of Clarie Collins Harvey at desk, circa 1968.

Documents from the Hamer and Harvey collections are also included in Amistad’s digital collection entitled “Print Culture and the Civil Rights Movement, 1950-1980,” hosted by the Louisiana Digital library. There are other archival institutions celebrating the 50th year milestones of Freedom Summer and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by publicizing their collections. The Wisconsin Historical Society is hosting the Freedom Summer Digital Collection, an online database of photographs and manuscripts documenting the activities of Freedom Summer activists, and the Library of Congress is hosting their online exhibit titled “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom.”

Amistad invites the public to view the Hamer and Harvey materials on display in our exhibition gallery. Information on the current exhibit and our upcoming exhibits can be found on our website.

Post by Chianta Dorsey

Images from the Fannie Lou Hamer and Clarie Collins Harvey Papers. May not be reproduced without permission.

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