Fannie Lou Hamer and Voting Rights

To understand the challenges Black voters faced in Mississippi, middle schoolers first gather background information about Fannie Lou Hamer and then read her testimony given during the 1964 Democratic Nation Convention. After a discussion of Hamer's comments, class members brainstorm what some specific goals of the Civil Rights Movement might have been based on.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Print or project the full text of Hamer's testimony
  • Begin the lesson by asking class members to complete a Mississippi literacy test (many examples can be found online)
Classroom Considerations
  • The lesson comes with a warning about racist language used in Hamer's testimony and depictions of racial violence; a protocol must be in place to permit safe, respectful discussions of the resources
Pros
  •  Includes the full text of Hamer's speech
Cons
  • None
Common Core