Fannie Lou Hamer
When she found out that blacks had the right to vote under the U.S. Constitution, but had been denied that right by local laws and prejudiced officials, Hamer was outraged. For the next fifteen years she dedicated her life to organizing southern blacks to claim their legal right to vote and be recognized as a significant force in national politics. She suffered beatings by the police, lost her job, and was forced to leave her home because of her belief in justice for all. In 1964, she led the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegation to the Democratic Convention, forcing the party to reconsider the way in which women and minorities were represented within its state delegations.