Black History Month should be a time of celebration of achievement and honest reflection on the impediments to freedom for all. Civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer is one of many who broke through the generational shackles of poverty to live a life devoted to helping free others from the same bondage.
Hamer was born into poverty in 1917 (the youngest of 20 children), which according to Planned Parenthood’s philosophy, was a circumstance worthy of eliminating her. Since the age of six, she worked in the cotton fields with her sharecropping family and was forced to leave school at the age of 12. But Fannie Lou Hamer, like many other remarkable figures in American history, defied the disproven narrative that poverty cannot birth greatness. She and her husband, Perry “Pap” Hamer, tirelessly toiled on a Mississippi plantation. He worked in the fields (basically as a slave, just in a different legal form) while she, armed with the ability to read and write, worked in the big House. In 1962, her life took an even more drastic turn.
She was diagnosed with a small uterine tumor, but instead of simply removing it, the doctor performed a hysterectomy without her consent. Pro-abortion activists often refer to Hamer’s ordeal as “Mississippi Appendectomies,” a term which Hamer coined. These unjust acts were done to thousands of women across the country, like North Carolinian Elaine Riddick. Abortion activists won’t mention those sterilizations were heavily promoted by Planned Parenthood or that Fannie Lou Hamer was, actually, passionately pro-life. This traumatic experience was the catalyst for her social activism, to fight the incredible injustice that black Americans faced, daily, in America.
She fought for the right of black Americans to vote, risking her very life as she survived violent attacks for her public crusade for rights guaranteed by the Constitution. She never gave up. Hamer wanted to provide a better world for black children who were constantly the target of racist efforts that forced birth control and other eugenic social policies masquerading as anti-poverty measures. In fact, Hamer was quoted as saying, during a White House Conference on Hunger (renamed the Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health), “I didn’t come to talk about birth control. I came here to get some food to feed poor, hungry people. Why are they carrying on that kind of talk?”
Ethel Payne, a journalist for the Afro American, described Hamer as a “passionate believer in the right to life” in a March 1980 column. Payne reported that the freedom fighter “spoke out strongly against abortion as a means of genocide of blacks.”
Yes. Genocide. Did you catch that “safe-space” seeking, #BlackLivesMatter activists? Across the country, this hashtag movement decries the estimated 100 tragic “unarmed” black deaths each year from police “brutality” (in quotes because “unarmed” doesn’t always mean unable to inflict harm), but celebrate an industry’s slaughter of over 360,000 unarmed black lives in the womb as “reproductive justice.” A flyer campaign by Purdue University Students For Life has generated surreal hostility and vitriolic social media posts because they dared to, as The Radiance Foundation has done many times, call out the contradiction.
Hamer would hammer these clueless #BlackLivesMatter student activists who blindly support the most institutionalized form of racism—population control.
According to black journalist, Samuel F. Yette (who was fired by Newsweek for penning his book, “The Choice,” which detailed Nixon’s eugenics and population control tactics): “Mrs. Hamer is a symbol of what was good about the 1960s. She symbolized the will of many not merely to illuminate the society’s worst contradictions, but also to erase them.”
Fannie Lou Hamer was a pro-life feminist who spoke with passion born of a life of hardships. She connected with people, black and white. As a victim of eugenic sterilization, racial discrimination, and a Democrat party that refused to racially integrate (hence her speech at the 1964 DNC Credentials Committee to demand black representation at the Convention), she spoke out against injustice, leaving an indelible mark on the conscience of a nation. She was truly fearless.
She used to sing “This Little Light of Mine” often. It was her anthem. She let her light shine outside and inside her home. Fannie Lou and “Pap” Hamer were adoptive parents who, due to the tragic loss of their adopted daughter, Dorothy Jean, and injuries sustained in war by their son-in-law, adopted their own grandchildren. After her passing, Yette wrote that “Fannie Lou Hamer tried to feed and educate the children, to guard life and enhance its nobility.”
Pro-life activism is a continuum. Forget the favorite pro-abortion baseless mantra that we “don’t care about children once they’re born.” We care about life, no matter the stage, from conception until (what should be) natural death. We may not agree with everyone on how that help is given, but all the evidence shows the extensive nature of how pro-life, pro-family, pro-restoration organizations, and the Church care for the poor, the broken and those in need. History reminds us that when we fail to care for the least of these and deem them as “unwanted” or a “burden” (whether born or unborn), only violence and destruction follow.
Forty-three years of Roe have eliminated over 58 million possibilities. They’re gone. These are millions who could’ve helped breathe Life into the hopelessness and despair that still shackles urban communities. More than 16 million black lives, possible freedom fighters like Hamer, have been erased by abortion from the annals of history. But we will not forget them.
As Hamer once proclaimed: “Nobody’s free until everyone’s free.” Here’s to a pro-life generation that is rising up, realizing that the best way to celebrate Black History American History is to fight to protect our very future—our Posterity.
Ryan Bomberger is the Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of The Radiance Foundation. He is happily married to his best friend, Bethany, who also happens to be the Executive Director of Radiance. They are adoptive parents with four awesome munchkins. Ryan is a creative agitator and international public speaker who just loves illuminating that every human life has purpose.
The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.