Larson, a visiting scholar at Brandeis’s Women’s Studies Research Center, draws from pathbreaking research on Hamer, including books by Kay Mills, Chana Kai Lee, Earnest Bracey and Maegan Parker Brooks, as well as oral histories and newly available census records and digitized newspapers, to offer an inspired account of Hamer’s contributions. Walk With Me is a gripping and skillfully researched political biography that embeds Hamer’s personal history within a compelling account of the post-World War II civil rights movement.
Kate Clifford Larson’s book Walk With Me: A Biography of Fannie Lou Hamer brings her story and eventual emergence as a civil rights leader into view, providing a fresh look at the oft-repeated stories of the civil rights movement ... Larson’s biography provides needed context for understanding that moment. The book’s emergence now also shows that sometimes it takes time for the value of something to come to light.
Praised for her research and insights as a biographer, Larson digs deep into Hamer’s history ... Walk With Me offers a fresh and stirring reappraisal of Hamer’s life and impact on the Civil Rights Movement. It couldn’t be timelier. Hamer’s struggles and her fight for the right to vote ties her to current events, including Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements. Fannie Lou Hamer’s legacy stirs in the work of activist Stacey Abrams and other women and men demanding equality, justice, and access to the ballot.
A civil rights activist from the Mississippi Delta earns a sympathetic, fully fleshed portrait ... Larson amply shows Hamer’s indomitable work ethic and strong sense of the injustices Blacks were forced to endure ... With diligent research featuring new sources, Larson brings her subject into a well-deserved spotlight. A social justice pioneer gets her due in this inspiring story of toil and spirit. A must-stock for libraries.
... moving and in-depth ... Larson details the backlash to the civil rights movement in Mississippi, including the withholding by county agents of federal commodities from Black families and nighttime attacks on Black homes, and in the book’s most harrowing chapter, she describes Hamer’s vicious beating by white police officers in 1963. Profiles of other women civil rights leaders, including Septima Clark and Ella Jo Baker, are interwoven throughout, and Larson sheds light on the conflicts within the movement, in particular the points of contention between middle-class leaders and grassroots organizers like Hamer. This comprehensive account gives a lesser-known activist her due.