100 Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes on Civil Voting Rights

Join the unstoppable force of justice through these Fannie Lou Hamer quotes.

Fannie Lou Hamer was a farmer and a civil rights activist.

Despite being a victim of violence from the state forces, she did not stop joining the fight for equality.

Hamer contributed a lot in amplifying the voices of the Black people.

Feel the power of her words while reading the entire collection below.

Let’s get started.

And don’t forget to check out these Angela Davis quotes and Maya Angelou quotes.

Best Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes

1. “When I liberate myself, I liberate others. If you don’t speak out, ain’t nobody going to speak out for you.” 

2. “You can pray until you faint, but unless you get up and try to do something, God is not going to put it in your lap.” 

3. “Righteousness exalts a nation. Hate just makes people miserable.” 

4. “Sometimes, it seems like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I’ll fall five-feet-four-inches forward in the fight for freedom. I’m not backing off.”

5. “Never to forget where we came from and always praise the bridges that carried us over.” 

6. “One day, I know the struggle will change. There’s got to be a change—not only for Mississippi, not only for the people in the United States but people all over the world.” 

7. “Hate won’t only destroy us. It will destroy these people that’s hating as well.” 

8. “If the White man gives you anything, just remember when he gets ready, he will take it right back. We have to take for ourselves.” 

9. “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” 

10. “We have to build our own power. We have to win every single political office we can, where we have a majority of Black people. The question for Black people is not when is the White man going to give us our rights, or when is he going to give us good education for our children, or when is he going to give us jobs.”

11. “I might not live two hours after I get back home, but I want to be a part of setting the Negro free in Mississippi.” 

12. “There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people.” 

13. “We didn’t come all the way up here to compromise for no more than we’d gotten here.” 

14. “If I am truly free, who can tell me how much of my freedom I can have today?” 

15. “People have got to get together and work together. I’m tired of the kind of oppression that White people have inflicted on us and are still trying to inflict.”

Related: Ruby Bridges Quotes

Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes to Inspire You to Fight for Equality

16. “All of this is on account we want to register, to become first-class citizens, and if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America.”

17. “It’s time for America to get right.”

18. “Brother, you can believe this or not—I been sick of this system as long as I can remember. I heard some people speak of depression in the ’30s. In the ’20s, it was ‘pression. With me, De-pression.” 

19. “To support whatever is right, and to bring injustice where we’ve had so much injustice.”

20. “Is this America? The land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily because we want to live as decent human beings in America?”

21. “That’s why I want to change Mississippi. You don’t run away from problems—you just face them.”

22. “A Black woman’s body was never hers alone.”

23. “What I really feel is necessary is that the Black people in this country will have to upset this apple cart. We can no longer ignore the fact that America is not the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

24. “Whether you have a Ph.D. or no D., we’re in this bag together. And whether you’re from Morehouse or no house, we’re still in this bag together. Not to fight to try to liberate ourselves from the men—this is another trick to get us fighting among ourselves—but to work together with the Black man, then we will have a better chance to just act as human beings and to be treated as human beings in our sick society.”

25. “Every red stripe in that flag represents the Black man’s blood that has been shed.”

26. “White Americans today don’t know what in the world to do because when they put us behind them, that’s where they made their mistake. They put us behind them, and we watched every move they made.”

27. “We are sick and tired of our people having to go to Vietnam and other places to fight for something we don’t have here.”

28. “The only thing they could do to me was to kill me, and it seemed like they’d been trying to do that a little bit at a time ever since I could remember.” 

29. “We didn’t come all this way for no two seats, ’cause all of us are tired.”

30. “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” 

Thought-Provoking Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes About Her Experiences on Oppression

31. “It is only when we speak what is right that we stand a chance at night of being blown to bits in our homes. Can we call this a free country when I am afraid to go to sleep in my own home in Mississippi?”

32. “They beat me ’till my body was hard, ’till I couldn’t bend my fingers, or get up when they told me to. That’s how I got this blood clot in my left eye—the sight’s nearly gone now, and my kidney was injured from the blows they gave me in the back.”

33. “On the 10th of September 1962, 16 bullets was fired into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Tucker for me.”

34. “I had to leave, and my husband was forced to stay on this plantation until after the harvest season was over. And then, the man that we had worked for, he’d taken the car, and the most of the few things we had, had been stolen.”

35. “The type of education that we get in the state of Mississippi will make our minds so narrow it won’t coordinate with our big bodies.”

36. “I have walked through the shadows of death because it was on the 10th of September in ’62 when they shot 16 times in a house, and it wasn’t a foot over the bed where my head was.”

37. “I’d been in jail, and I’d been beat. I had been to a voter registration workshop, you know, to—they were just training and teaching us how to register, to pass the literacy test.”

38. “When I walked in with the two White men that had carried me down, and they cursed me all the way down. They would ask me questions, and when I would try to answer, they would tell me to hush.”

39. “They just kept beating me and telling me, ‘You nigger bitch, we’re gonna make you wish you were dead.’ Every day of my life, I pay with the misery of that beating.”

40. “If you are a Christian, we are tired of being mistreated.”

Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes on Voting Rights

41. “I had never heard until 1962 that Black people could register and vote. I remember that until this day, and I won’t forget it.”

42. “I am determined to get every Negro in the state of Mississippi registered.”

43. “A couple of years ago, White people were shooting at Negroes trying to register. Now, they say, ‘Go ahead and register—then you’ll starve.'”

44. “We hadn’t heard anything about registering to vote because when you see this flat land in here when the people would get out of the fields if they had a radio, they’d be too tired to play it. So we didn’t know what was going on in the rest of the state, even, much less in other places.”

45. “One night, I went to the church. They had a mass meeting, and I went to the church, and they talked about how it was our right that we could register and vote.”

46. “I know lots of people in Mississippi who have lost their jobs trying to register to vote.”

47. “They were talking about we could vote out people that we didn’t want in office. We thought that wasn’t right, that we could vote them out. That sounded interesting enough to me that I wanted to try it.”

48. “If you don’t go down and withdraw your registration, you will have to leave. We are not ready for that in Mississippi.” 

49. “We plan to bring some changes in the South, and as we bring changes in the South, the Northern White politician won’t have any excuse and nowhere to hide.”

50. “I’m showing the people that a Negro can run for office.”

Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes to Encourage You to Join the Movement for Liberation

51. “Sin is beginning to reproach America today, and we want what is rightfully ours.”

52. “What I’m trying to point out now is when you take a very close look at this American society, it’s time to question these things.”

53. “I always said if I lived to get grown and had a chance, I was going to try to get something for my mother, and I was going to do something for the Black man of the South if it would cost my life. I was determined to see that things were changed.”

54. “With the people, for the people, by the people. I crack up when I hear it. I say, with the handful, for the handful, by the handful, ’cause that’s what really happens.”

55. “We have been listening year after year to White people, and what have we got? We are not even allowed to think for ourselves. ‘I know what is best for you,’ but they don’t know what is best for us! It is time now to let them know what they owe us, and they owe us a great deal.”

56. “We are here to work side-by-side with this Black man in trying to bring liberation to all our people!”

57. “The only way we can make this thing of equality a reality in America is to do all we can to destroy this system and bring this out to the light that has been under the cover all these years.”

58. “If this is a great society, I’d hate to see a bad one.”

59. “I was forced away from the plantation because I wouldn’t go back and withdraw, you know, my literacy test after I had tried to take it. I wouldn’t go back.”

60. “The methods used to take human lives, such as abortion, the pill, the ring, etc., amounts to genocide. I believe that legal abortion is legal murder.”

61. “We want a change in this society in America because you see, we can no longer ignore the facts.”

62. “I feel sorry for anybody that could let hate wrap them up. Ain’t no such thing as I can hate anybody and hope to see God’s face.”

63. “We want ours, and we want ours now.”

64. “I used to question this for years—what did our kids actually fight for? They would go in the service, and go through all of that, and come right out to be drowned in a river in Mississippi. I found this hypocrisy is all over America.”

65. “It is our right to stay here, and we will stay and stand up for what belongs to us as American citizens because they can’t say that we haven’t had patience.”

Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes on Battling Injustice

66. “I don’t want equal rights with the White man. If I did, I’d be a thief and a murderer.”

67. “It would bring tears in your eyes to make you think of all those years, the type of brainwashing that this man will use in America to keep us separated from our own people.”

68. “A White man killed the mules and our cows that knocked us right back down, and things got so tough that I began to wish I was White.”

69. “The man will shoot you in the face in Mississippi, and you turn around, he’ll shoot you in the back here.”

70. “I was treated much better in Africa than I was treated in America. And you see, often I get letters like this, ‘Go back to Africa.'”

71. “Do you mean to tell me that your position is more important than 400,000 Black people’s lives? Now, if you lose this job of Vice-President because you do what is right because you help the MFDP, everything will be all right. God will take care of you. But if you take it this way, why, you will never be able to do any good for civil rights, for poor people, for peace, or any of those things you talk about. Senator Humphrey, I’m going to pray to Jesus for you.”

72. “The American Government can’t protect minorities, but when a White man is killed in the Congo, they send people there.”

73. “Because a house divided against itself cannot stand, and today, America is divided against itself because they don’t want us to have even the ballot here in Mississippi.”

74. “Christianity is being concerned about others, not building a million-dollar church while people are starving right around the corner. Christ was a revolutionary person, out there where it was happening. That’s what God is all about, and that’s where I get my strength.”

75. “We cannot say we have all of this unity they say we have when Black people are being discriminated against in every city in America I have visited.”

76. “Eighteen hundred and seventy, the Fifteenth Amendment was added on to the Constitution of the United States that gave every man a chance to vote for what he think to be the right way.”

77. “I have just as much right to stay in America. In fact, the Black people have contributed more to America than any other race because our kids have fought here for what was called democracy.”

78. “This White man who is saying, ‘It takes time.’ For 300 and more years, they have had ‘time,’ and now it is time for them to listen.”

79. “So many things are under the cover that will have to be swept out and shown to this whole world, not just to America.”

80. “These people in Mississippi State, they are not down. All they need is a chance.”

Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes for the People Who Need to Hear the Truth About America

81. “This thing they say of the land of the free and the home of the brave is all on paper.”

82. “Actually, the world and America is upset, and the only way to bring about a change is to upset it more.”

83. “Just because people are fat, it doesn’t mean they are well fed. The cheapest foods are the fattening ones, not the most nourishing.”

84. “When they asked for those to raise their hands who’d go down to the courthouse the next day, I raised mine. Had it high up as I could get it. I guess if I’d had any sense, I’d have been a little scared, but what was the point of being scared?”

85. “The landowner said I would have to go back to withdraw, or I would have to leave, and so I told him I didn’t go down there to register for him. I was down there to register for myself.”

86. “Why should I leave Ruleville, and why should I leave Mississippi? I go to the big city, and with the kind of education they give us in Mississippi, I got problems. I’d wind up in a soup line there.”

87. “I am determined to give my part not for what the movement can do for me, but what I can do for the movement to bring about a change in the State of Mississippi.”

88. “My parents tried so hard to do what they could to keep us in school, but school didn’t last but four months out of the year, and most of the time, we didn’t have clothes to wear.”

89. “I believe in Christianity because the scriptures said, ‘The things that have been done in the dark will be known on the housetops.'”

90. “We have in Sunflower County 1400 children that we were able to get out of the ghettos, out of the country, and most of these children had never seen a commode in their lives.”

91. “Why weren’t we White?”

92. “We serve God by serving our fellow man. Kids are suffering from malnutrition. People are going to the fields hungry.”

93. “You don’t have to like everybody, but you have to love everybody.”

94. “It was the 31st of August in 1962 that 18 of us traveled 26 miles to the county courthouse in Indianola to try to register to become first-class citizens. We was met in Indianola by policemen, highway patrolmen, and they only allowed two of us in to take the literacy test at the time.”

95. “You see if you are professional and if you are a non-professional, if you are not giving service to your fellow man, well, you can be as fancy-dressed as you want to be, but just don’t go to church because it’s no good because we are our brother’s keeper.”

More Fannie Lou Hamer Quotes to Understand Her Struggle Better

96. “Actually, some of the things I experienced as a child still linger on—what the White man has done to the Black people in the south!”

97. “If you give a hungry man food, he will eat it. But if you give him land, he will grow his own food.”

98. “Black people know what White people mean when they say, ‘Law and order.'” 

99. “I saw in Chicago on the street where I was visiting my sister-in-law this ‘Urban Renewal,’ and it means one thing, ‘Negro removal.’ They want to tear the homes down and put a parking lot there.”

100. “I remember, and I will never forget. One day, I was six years old, and I was playing beside the road, and this plantation owner drove up to me and stopped and asked me, ‘Could I pick some cotton?’ I told him I didn’t know, and he said, ‘Yes, you can. I will give you things that you want from the commissary store,’ and he named a huge list that he called off. I picked the 30 pounds of cotton that week, but I found out what actually happened was he was trapping me into beginning the work I was to keep doing, and I never did get out of his debt again.”

Did Fannie Lou Hamer’s Words Urge You to Fight?

The United States of America passed the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870. It covers the right to vote no matter what race, color, and condition the individual has. Yet, state forces continue to suppress the rights of Black people’s ability to vote.

After almost a century, the Black community’s efforts and people of color have been paid off. The fight for suffrage caused the deaths of many activists, but this did not stop Hamer from joining the cause.

Her dedication only showed how she loved her community and struggled to protect them. After all, we join the movement not only for ourselves but also for our love for the people.

Which Fannie Lou Hamer quote is your favorite? Did you learn a lot from this collection? Join the discussion in the comment section below!