Fannie Lou Hamer

Recent Articles

Guthrie Theater’s smug and offensive “Clybourne Park” perpetuates the illusion of a “post-Civil-Rights” society


By Peter Rachcleff, Community Voices/Twin Cities Daily Planet


Clybourne Park is a significant play. It won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and, in 2012, was awarded the Tony Award for best Broadway drama. A cursory glance over the schedules for regional theater in the past two years suggests that it is the most widely produced play in the country. The Guthrie has made a major investment in the play, from hiring a top notch production team and cast to building an enormous, complex set, and booking the play for a lengthy run of eight weeks. On the night I attended, most of the apparently full house (around 700) at the McGuire Proscenium Stage—almost all of whom were, like me, white—loved the play. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

A healthy me for a healthy you

When we speak about health, oftentimes physical health comes to mind first. Physical health is important for everyone to be attentive to. Just as equally, we need to be attentive to our mental and spiritual health as well. As Black folks, we have been mentally, psychically and spiritually abused on multiple levels. However, we have found ways to keep pushing. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

The Good Wife Works – America in the Age of Obama

In a recent workshop held on the campus of Macalester College in St. Paul on the state and condition of America in the age of Obama, it was agreed that our president and the symbol that the presidency represents is its highest compliment, the ultimate achievement. He is credible. He qualifies to be president. Do the rest of us? Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Wake up! We’re still invisible!



“There is one thing you have got to learn about our movement. Three people are better than no people.” – Fannie Lou Hamer


Last night’s “Urban Agenda” radio show was one of those that unfolds as it is in motion, a potpourri about what is going on in the village and across the world, and the people who called in made it sing. It was clear to me that the few, Fannie Lou’s handful, who have committed themselves to the struggle for human rights need the people of the village to stand up so they can keep fighting. The pain in the voices of a few callers was evident — weary from struggling not only with systems rooted in the prisons of race, but weary from tussling with our own community about trying to do right. I asked in an earlier column about what you might say if Malcolm or Martin were to turn to you and say, “Your turn.” I am saying to you, it’s your turn. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Women ADVANCE to take the lead


A primarily Black Urban Women’s Movement is officially launched

By Vickie Evans-Nash

Contributing Writer


On Saturday, January 21, approximately 200 people — overwhelmingly women, predominantly African American, with a sprinkling of men such as U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison — met for the Urban Women’s Movement kickoff. Leadership in the Twin Cities, even within communities of color, has been predominantly male. The Urban Women’s Movement seeks to change that dynamic. The movement came about after a discussion between the president of the movement, Lissa Jones, host of KMOJ’s “Urban Agenda,” and Trayshana Thomas, co-chair of the event and formerly of Rep. Keith Ellison’s office, about the fact that there are no local or state-level politicians who are addressing issues of urban communities. The mission of the Urban Women’s Movement is to begin engaging women in the political process well before entering a voting booth, “so that we are shaping the ballot rather than responding to it,” Jones said. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Your turn to speak up has arrived Critical thinking in the village



“With the people, for the people, by the people, I crack up when I hear it; I say, with the handful, for the handful, by the handful, ’cause that’s what really happens.” 

— Fannie Lou Hamer


As we celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., my mind reflected on this thought: What if, while he was still living, he turned to one of us and said, “Okay, your turn”? What if Fannie Lou Hamer, after countless beatings and eviction from her sharecropper home, got tired and turned to us and said, “Your turn”? What if Malcolm X, newly enlightened after his trip to Mecca, would have decided to work on other things, and he turned to you and said, “Your turn”? This year, beautiful people of the village, it’s our turn. If we want things to be different, to improve, then we must recognize that the solutions we’ve been offered, the prescriptions written by politicians and self-proclaimed leaders, haven’t worked. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Black wisdom: for our collective prosperity in 2012

Critical thinking in the Black Independence Movement

“We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends,” a lesson from Mary McLeod Bethune. This year, we can work to broaden our own experiences and, when possible, to broaden the experiences of those around us. Our kids need to know that there is more to the world than Minneapolis and St. Paul. If our kids never see a play at the only Black theater in the Midwest, our very own Penumbra, how will our people help to shape and create the next August Wilson? Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Urban women must stand together for change



”The Master’s tools will never dismantle the Master’s house,” advises feminist Audre Lorde in her famous essay. I was doing some research for an upcoming show that will help us examine the impact of racism on our mental health, and I came across a powerful video of a James Farmer interview with Betty Shabazz after the assassination of her husband, Malcolm X.

After watching her, I was left with the thought that in the aftermath of violence we are left to try to raise our babies anyway. I thought about it a few more days, and this occurred to me: When we look at the statistics for the numbers of Black men in prison, we aren’t talking about some generic men we are unfamiliar with. No, those men are our brothers, husbands, cousins, uncles, nephews and fathers — urban men. Ray’jon Gomez, 13; Quantell Braxton, 14; Jason Osburn, 16 — victims of homicide, urban babies, our babies. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,