Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Fannie Lou Hamer and the Power of Song

BOND: Fannie Lou Hamer?

MOSES: I met Fannie Lou Hamer, I'll never forget it, August 31st, 1962. Amzie has organized a school bus to take people from Louisville down to Indianola, the county seat, and so we're on this bus and they're mostly older women in their 50s, and then Joe McDonald there. I think he's the only man there, Rebecca and Joe McDonald, and so I'm sitting up front and there's this lady sitting right behind me who's turned around facing the back of the bus and when the bus pulls off, she starts singing and she never stops. It's one church song. It's like she knew every song that anybody had sung in a black church. What was actually happening was she was really driving away fear. The people were really immersed in the messages of the song and that was Mrs. Hamer. We got off and tried to leaflet. They arrested us. We were in jail for overnight and then John Doar sent Bob Owens down and got us out so I wasn't around when she went back. The Marlow Plantation then told her that she would have to leave.

BOND: And she said, "I didn't come down here to vote for Mr. Marlow, I came down here to vote for myself."

MOSES: That's right. Then she went and stayed in Louisville for a while and then you remember that conference SNCC had at Nashville in 1962. We looked her up. Charles McLaurin went and found her and got her to that conference and then she became part of SNCC.

BOND: Annie Devine?

MOSES: So, Annie Devine, I didn't interface a lot with because she lived in Canton and Canton was part of the CORE district so I wasn't really working that area. I got to know her better when I came back to Mississippi and was working with The Algebra Project.