“We have a long fight and this fight is not mine alone, but you are not free whether you are white or Black, until I am free.”—Fannie Lou Hamer
A blend of social commentary, biography, and intellectual history, Until I Am Free is a manifesto for anyone committed to social justice. The book challenges us to listen to a working-poor and disabled Black woman activist and intellectual of the civil rights movement as we grapple with contemporary concerns around race, inequality, and social justice.
Award-winning historian and New York Times best-selling author Keisha N. Blain situates Fannie Lou Hamer as a key political thinker alongside leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks and demonstrates how her ideas remain salient for a new generation of activists committed to dismantling systems of oppression in the United States and across the globe.
This is the second event of a two-part series on Fannie Lou Hamer. You can find the first event here.
Dr. Keisha N. Blain is an award-winning historian of the 20th century United States with broad interests and specializations in African American History, the modern African Diaspora, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh, the president of the African American Intellectual History Society, and a columnist for MSNBC. She is currently a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University and a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study.
Blain has published extensively on race, gender, and politics in both national and global perspectives. She is the author of the multi-prize-winning book Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (2018) and co-editor of To Turn the Whole World Over: Black Women and Internationalism (University of Illinois Press, 2019); New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition (Northwestern University Press, 2018); and Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence (University of Georgia Press, 2016). Her latest books are the #1 New York Times Best Seller Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, edited with Ibram X. Kendi (Penguin Random House/One World, 2021); and Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer's Enduring Message to America (Beacon Press, October 5, 2021). Follow her on Twitter @KeishaBlain and on Instagram @KeishaNBlain.
Alexis Coe is a historian. She is the New York Times Bestselling Author of You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington and Alice+Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis (soon to be a major motion picture).