Explores the Black activist’s ideas and political strategies, highlighting their relevance for tackling modern social issues including voter suppression, police violence, and economic inequality.

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Product Code: 3159
ISBN: 9780807007259
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Pages: 208
Published Date: 10/04/2022
Availability: Not currently available.
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Price: $15.95

“We have a long fight and this fight is not mine alone, but you are not free whether you are white or black, until I am free.” —Fannie Lou Hamer

A blend of social commentary, biography, and intellectual history, Until I Am Free is a manifesto for anyone committed to social justice. The book challenges us to listen to a working-poor and disabled Black woman activist and intellectual of the civil rights movement as we grapple with contemporary concerns around race, inequality, and social justice.

Award-winning historian and New York Times best-selling author Keisha N. Blain situates Fannie Lou Hamer as a key political thinker alongside leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks and demonstrates how her ideas remain salient for a new generation of activists committed to dismantling systems of oppression in the United States and across the globe.

Despite her limited material resources and the myriad challenges she endured as a Black woman living in poverty in Mississippi, Hamer committed herself to making a difference in the lives of others. She refused to be sidelined in the movement and refused to be intimidated by those of higher social status and with better jobs and education. In these pages, Hamer’s words and ideas take center stage, allowing us all to hear the activist’s voice and deeply engage her words, as though we had the privilege to sit right beside her.

More than 40 years since Hamer’s death in 1977, her words still speak truth to power, laying bare the faults in American society and offering valuable insights on how we might yet continue the fight to help the nation live up to its core ideals of “equality and justice for all.”

Includes a photo insert featuring Hamer at civil rights marches, participating in the Democratic National Convention, testifying before Congress, and more.


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INTRODUCTION
A Long Fight Ahead

CHAPTER ONE
Let Your Light Shine

CHAPTER TWO
Tell It Like It Is

CHAPTER THREE
We Want Leaders

CHAPTER FOUR
The Special Plight of Black Women

CHAPTER FIVE
An Expansive Vision of Freedom

CHAPTER SIX
Try to Do Something

CONCLUSION
Until All of Us Are Free

Acknowledgments
Notes
Index
Image Credits

“Blain backs up her trenchant analysis with extensive research and relevant quotes from her subject. The scholarly text brims with heart, and the author’s affection for Hamer infuses every line. Readers will walk away both informed and inspired . . . . A highly readable, poignant study of the life and influence of a civil rights legend.” — Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“[A] vivid, passionate biography. . . . the author’s rightful and infectious admiration of Hamer shines through on every page. Until I Am Free is a must-have for readers interested in American history and civil rights activism.” — Booklist, Starred Review

“Dr. Keisha Blain’s beautiful prose and infectious passion for uncovering our historical roots tell Hamer’s amazing life story. . . . Until I Am Free allows the reader to see a long part of the political and cultural lines from Fannie Lou Hamer to Vice President Kamala Harris.” —Donna Brazile, former chair of the Democratic National Committee

“This is a book for everyone who doesn’t know the legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer and for everyone who thinks they do.” —Melissa Harris-Perry, author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

“A rich, detailed, and moving portrait of one of the most important civil rights activists in American history.” —Clint Smith, author of How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

“Keisha Blain brings Fannie Lou Hamer and her fight for liberation to life in the exhilarating Until I Am Free. Alight with curiosity and passion, Blain’s view of Hamer is both intimate and political, exquisitely sensitive to the challenges faced by a Black woman sharecropper whose body was too often the site of white supremacist, misogynist violence, and whose revolutionary story has too rarely been framed as such. Until I Am Free corrects that omission and will be an invaluable resource for generations to come.” —Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger

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