A blend of social commentary, biography, and intellectual history, Until I Am Free 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.
In Until I Am Free, Blain asks us to revisit the activist’s achievements through the lens of the current civil rights movement. She argues that Hamer pioneered an approach to fighting racism, sexism and class discrimination that is relevant today ... Brilliantly constructed to be both forward and backward looking, Blain’s book functions simultaneously as a much needed history lesson and an indispensable guide for modern activists.
Although Blain occasionally neglects to situate Hamer’s ideas in the broader context of her time, the author’s rightful and infectious admiration of Hamer shines through on every page. Until I Am Free is a must-have for readers interested in American history and civil rights activism.
Blain backs up her trenchant analysis with extensive research and relevant quotes from her subject. The scholarly text brims with heart, and the author’s affection for Hamer infuses every line. Readers will walk away both informed and inspired ... A highly readable, poignant study of the life and influence of a civil rights legend.