Danny Lyon (American, born 1942)
gelatin silver print
14 x 11 in. (35.56 x 27.94 cm)
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Stephen Nicholas, 2015.50.21. © Danny Lyon/Magnum Photos
Danny Lyon photographed Fannie Lou Hamer demonstrating in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, during a protest organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Hamer became a symbol for the lengths one would go to secure civil rights for their community. A forced sterilization while undergoing surgery to remove a uterine tumor set her on the path to work toward equal rights. Returning from a voter registration workshop, Hamer and three other SNCC women were savagely beaten in Winona, Mississippi, on June 9, 1963. This beating was carried out by two African American male prisoners at the order of the white jailers. Hamer never fully recovered from the attack, losing vision in one eye and sustaining permanent kidney and leg damage. Nevertheless, she continued to fight on the front lines.