"Honor those who have stepped forward when others were thinking backwards."
Black history is full of stories about those who stepped forward. Think Fannie Lou Hamer, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Sojourner Truth, Martin L. King, Jr...and the list goes on. If I have named some names you do not recognize, I beseech you to do some research. Find out who they were, why they stepped forward, and how their steps yesterday benefit your steps today.
I'm going to highlight--Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer. She coined the phrase "sick and tired of being sick and tired". Mrs Hamer was born to share-croppers in Mississippi. She, too became a field worker at age 6. When she grew up she married a share-cropper. Get it? All she knew was share-cropping. But there's something else. She had a desire to vote. Not only for herself, but for her family and generations to come. She desired that we all have the right to vote no matter your race, color, gender, creed, or religion. She stood up, stepped forward, and spoke out for those rights. Her story always brings me to tears. I can't believe she endured this torture to secure the right to vote for black people. Here's part of her story:
On June 3, 1963, Fannie Lou Hamer and other civil rights workers arrived in Winona, MS by bus. They were ordered off the bus and taken to Montgomery County Jail. The story continues "...Then three white men came into my room. One was a state highway policeman (he had the marking on his sleeve)... They said they were going to make me wish I was dead. They made me lay down on my face and they ordered two Negro prisoners to beat me with a blackjack. That was unbearable. The first prisoner beat me until he was exhausted, then the second Negro began to beat me. I had polio when I was about six years old. I was limp. I was holding my hands behind me to protect my weak side. I began to work my feet. My dress pulled up and I tried to smooth it down. One of the policemen walked over and raised my dress as high as he could. They beat me until my body was hard, 'til I couldn't bend my fingers or get up when they told me to. That's how I got this blood clot in my eye - the sight's nearly gone now. My kidney was injured from the blows they gave me on the back."
Fannie Lou Hamer 1917 - 1977. An icon in African-American History.