Fannie Lou Hamer is celebrated as a prophet and freedom rights warrior

In this Aug. 22, 1964 photograph, Fannie Lou Hamer, a leader of the Freedom Democratic party, speaks before the credentials committee of the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/File)

Thursday’s edition of “Closer Look,” in honor of Women’s History Month, spotlighted the work of voting and women’s rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer.

Ms. Hamer served as the vice chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and testified at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. The speech, broadcast live, brought attention to the unjust conditions faced by Black people in the South.

First, show host Rose Scott talked with Professor Pearl Dowe, the vice provost for faculty affairs at Emory University, and Dr. Danielle Phillips-Cunningham, who teaches women’s and African American labor histories at Rutgers University. The professors reflected on Ms. Hamer’s life and legacy and discussed her fight for civil rights and women’s rights.

Rose then talked with award-winning actor Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, who is best known for her performance in films like “Origin,” “The Help” and “Ray.”

Ellis-Taylor, who portrayed Hamer in the short film “Fannie,” explains why she views Hamer as a prophet and a freedom rights warrior.