History is more than just facts we learn about generations and events who came before us. It can be a source of pride especially for young people today. Yet so much has been omitted from the history books used in todays schools. We as parents and educators must share our knowledge and encourage students to learn about the unsung heroes who are often overlooked.
My family and I recently attended a one woman play called “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story: I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired” hosted by our church. The play was written and performed by Ms. Mzuri Moyo Aimbaya. Ms. Aimbaya is a former nurse who was inspired by Ms. Hamer several years ago. After viewing a tape that highlighted Ms. Hamers civil rights activism on Gil Noble’s show “Like It Is”, she decided to write a play about her. This play has shaped her acting, writing, and singing career over the years. She has performed the Fannie Lou Hamer story for 14 years now.
In 2002, The Fannie Lou Hamer story was the winner of the Audelco Award for Best Solo Performance (Black Tony Awards).
Ms. Aimbaya’s voice was absolutely incredible. It was strong, powerful, yet soft and soothing. She sang throughout the play using her voice to create the vision and to tell the story.
Ms. Hamer was a civil rights activist who joined the fight for the right to vote beginning in 1962. Eventually, she lost her job, was beaten, and thrown in jail. Ms. Hamer lived to enjoy the right to vote until 1977 when she died of heart failure at the age of 59. This is just a small snapshot of her legacy. I encourage you to do your own research if you would like to learn more about her.
The performance lasted about an hour and twenty minutes. At the end of the performance, Ms. Aimbaya changed out of her costume and came out to greet the audience. She observed that this was the most young people she has seen in the audience. The audience was primarily African-American. She then asked how many of them knew about Fannie Lou Hamer and maybe two students raised their hands. My kids had no idea who she was either.
This is a tell-tale sign that young people, especially African-American youth need to learn more about their history in this country. They need to know that they belong, and their ancestors fought hard for many of the rights that they enjoy today. I read somewhere that history helps us to learn from the trials of the past and to build on the successes for the future. So true.
Ms. Hamer was a trailblazer and I am especially humbled and grateful for her courage. See the website below for more information about the Fannie Lou Hamer Story.
Do you know who Fannie Lou Hamer is?
Peace and Blessings,