The Bill and Terrie Crawley Lecture
Fannie Lou Hamer, a poor Mississippi sharecropper with a sixth-grade education, faced down white supremacists and challenged President Lyndon Johnson and other national civil rights leaders to secure voting rights for all Americans during the 1960s. She was an improbable leader whose beginnings gave no hint of the powerful woman she would become. The work of elite, well-educated men dominated leadership roles in the civil rights movement, and their lives and stories remain the focus of much of civil rights history. Hamer reminds us that at a movement’s center sits unlikely leaders, forged through difficult circumstances and who use their unique gifts to face the challenges posed at critical crossroads. She channeled her anger, her courage, her faith, and unwavering commitment to human rights in a battle against entrenched racism and bigotry. Using recently opened FBI records, secret Oval Office tapes, new interviews, and more, Dr. Kate Clifford Larson will share fresh details from her highly acclaimed biography Walk With Me about Hamer’s determination to make her light shine in the face of disabling physical abuse and death threats to bring revolutionary change to America.
Further Reading Resource List provided by CRRL
Speaker: Kate Clifford Larson
Dr. Kate Clifford Larson is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author of critically acclaimed biographies, including Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero, the first deeply researched full length biography of the American icon since 1943; Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter; and The Assassin's Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham. Her latest work, Walk With Me: A Biography of Fannie Lou Hamer, was named one of Kirkus Review’s best biographies of 2021. Dr. Larson earned BA and MA degrees from Simmons College and an MBA from Northeastern University before completing her doctorate in American History and specializing in 19th and 20th century U.S. Women's and African American history at the University of New Hampshire. An historical consultant, Larson has worked on feature film scripts—including Focus Features' Harriet starring prize-winning Cynthia Erivo, and Robert Redford's The Conspirator—numerous documentaries, museum exhibits, public history initiatives, heritage tourism products, curriculum guides, and numerous other publications. Her award-winning work includes Maryland’s Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State and National Monument and Park, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and All-American Road, and the Harriet Tubman Home and National Historical Park in Auburn, NY. She has appeared on local, national, and international media outlets, including the BBC, PBS, and C-Span, cable networks, podcasts, and CBS Sunday Morning. Dr. Larson has most recently been a Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center Visiting Scholar. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband Spencer—a Senior Wealth Advisor—and their extended family.