State History, Civil Rights Museums Celebrate Birthday of Fannie Lou Hamer, Offer Free Admission

Civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer was born October 6, 1917. In honor of Hamer’s birthday, admission to the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will be free on Wednesday, October 6. Admission will also include the PBS FRONTLINE special exhibit Un(re)solved: A Multiplatform Investigation. Museum staff will highlight Hamer’s life and legacy through guided tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

“Tenacity, inspiration and 'never give up' are words and phrases that Fannie Lou Hamer lived by. Her fortitude and strength brought about change for all mankind,” said Pamela D.C. Junior, director of the Two Mississippi Museums. “In honor of her birthday, October 6, we will be offering free admission. Come out and learn about the life of this woman who not only changed Mississippi, but changed the world. May we all live as she did by being and showing examples of good stewardship in our communities.” 

Born in 1917 in Montgomery County, Hamer worked for most of her life as a sharecropper. In 1962, she joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and encouraged African Americans to register to vote. Hamer was a founding member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), which challenged the seating of the regular party’s all-white delegation. 

Hamer’s powerful testimony to the credentials committee during the 1964 Democratic National Convention is featured in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. The MFDP challenge forced the Democratic Party to eventually embrace diversity and forever changed American politics. 

On Thursday, October 7, at 6 p.m., the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will present a free sneak peek of the PBS FRONTLINE documentary American Reckoning featuring a conversation with co-directors Brad Lichtenstein and Yoruba Richen. Ronnie Agnew of Mississippi Public Broadcasting will moderate the discussion. Visit the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Facebook page for more information about the event.  

Safety precautions at the museums include requiring all visitors to wear masks and observe social distancing guidelines. Masks are available on-site. Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the museums is free on Sundays. 

The museums are located at 222 North Street in Jackson. For more information email