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Biopic on Civil Rights Pioneer Fannie Lou Hamer in Development

A biopic on civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer is in the works with “Remember the Titans” writer Gregory Allen Howard and Chris Columbus’ 1492 production company.

Columbus and Howard will produce the untitled project with Michael Barnathan, Mark Radcliffe, and Jenny Blum. No director or actors are attached.

Hamer, who grew up in Mississippi as a sharecropper on a sixth-grade education, was a key organizer in the 1962 Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She was badly beaten in 1963 after being jailed before becoming the vice-chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which she represented at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J.

Hamer gained national attention for a televised speech at the convention before the party’s credentials committee. She explained why the committee should recognize the integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party instead of the state’s segregated official party delegation.

“If the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America,” Hamer said. “Is this America? The land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?”

The party leaders worked out a compromise in which two delegates were seated, but without voting rights. In response, Hamer said, “We didn’t come all the way up here to compromise for no more than we’d gotten here. We didn’t come all this way for no two seats when all of us is tired.”

Delegates from the party were seated at the 1968 convention. Hamer died in 1977 at the age of 59.

Howard has also been developing a Harriet Tubman biopic as a producer and writer.

Howard is represented by WME and The Gotham Group. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

 

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