Another Fannie Lou Hamer project is on the way. A few months ago, it was announced that Alfre Woodard would play the civil rights activist in a limited series, and now there’s word that a film about Hamer is in the works. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “God’s Long Summer” will be based on Charles Marsh’s nonfiction book of the same name and Hamer’s memoir “To Praise Our Bridges.” The project hails from Waxylu Films, Dream Management and Entertainment, and Triumph Inc.
“God’s Long Summer” will trace how Hamer “fought against the Southern political establishment, systemic racism, and misogyny by exercising her right to vote and fighting for the rights of others,” per the source. “Labeled as plain spoken and unfit to lead the movement, Hamer captivated the nation with her powerful voice, sheer will, and faith in her fight against leaders at the highest levels of state and federal government and within the Civil Rights Movement itself to help secure passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
Born and raised in Mississippi, Hamer came from a family of sharecroppers. She began helping her family in the fields at age six and left school after the sixth grade to work full-time. As an adult, Hamer helped spearhead the 1962 Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She was arrested on trumped up charges in 1963 and put in jail, where she was badly beaten and incurred permanent kidney damage.
Hamer made headlines when she spoke as the representative of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Arguing that the Democrats should recognize her party instead of Mississippi’s segregated Democratic party, Hamer recounted the acts of violence she witnessed while participating in the Civil Rights Movement.
“All of this [violence] is on account of we want to register, to become first-class citizens,” Hamer said. “And if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. 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?”
Charles McLaurin, a friend of Hamer who worked with her on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, will consult on “God’s Long Summer,” as will Hamer’s cousin Minister Vester Townsend Lobbins.
“It’s impossible to talk about voting rights in America and not include Mrs. Hamer. Her story will serve as a reminder of our long history of struggle to secure voter rights for all citizens in this country, and, add her powerful voice to the current struggle to pass new voting rights legislation,” McLaurin said.
Lobbins added, “I hope this movie will introduce Fannie Lou to a new generation of activists and freedom fighters and inspire them to ‘keep on fighting til America gets it right,’ as she used to say.”