The Freedom Struggles of James Eastland and Fannie Lou Hamer
Chris Myers Asch
The New Press
Winner of the Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians
Sunflower County, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, stood at the epicenter of Civil Rights activism in the 1960s, in part because it was a black majority county in which white cotton farmers held all the power, and in part because Senator James Eastland and activist Fannie Lou Hamer, two of its most prominent citizens, were such compelling, and contrasting symbols of the struggle.
The Senator and the Sharecropper is the story of how Eastland and Hamer’s lives, their vast differences, and their occasional similarities, reveal a great deal about how freedom has been defined, championed, and stymied in the South, and in America more widely. What happened in Sunflower County illuminates issues of race and economics that often were obscured elsewhere, and The Senator and the Sharecropper is a story of two remarkable individuals who lived through a particularly turbulent time in a particularly turbulent place.