Voice of Freedom, Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement
by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Candlewick Press, 2015
2016 Caldecott Honor Book
2016 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
2016 John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award Winner
Written in free verse poetry this was my introduction to Ms. Hamer, the spirit of the civil rights movement. I had not heard her story, but the riveting poems brought me into her world and shed light on a person instrumental in both building the movement and holding it together.
Born in 1917, her mother was paid $50 by the plantation owner for producing a future field hand; the money helped them get through the winter as sharecroppers. Fannie Lou was six when she started picking cotton. As a child, she never understood why black people were poor and whites were not. She married, adopted two girls, and when the battle over voting began, took the ‘literacy’ test. After that, she had to go on the run. She sustained a severe beating that was to affect her the rest of her life. Figuring she had nothing to lose, she continued speaking up and singing to inspire others to stand up for themselves.
A well written and inspiring, as well as educational, book.