On June 9, 2022, a Mississippi State Historical Marker was unveiled during a ceremony at the corner of Oak Drive and Sterling Avenue in Winona, Mississippi on the site of the old Montgomery County Jail in honor of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer and the other civil rights heroes who were beaten there in 1963. The City of Winona Board of Aldermen approved a proclamation declaring an annual observation of June 9 as Fannie Lou Hamer Day. This year is a milestone year marking 60 years after the tragedy in Winona. The nonprofit Land Literacy and Legacy of Oxford, Mississippi will unveil a Mississippi Freedom Trail Marker on the site of Staley’s Café and Continental Trailways Bus Station where the activists were arrested. On Friday, October 6, Mrs. Hamer’s 106th birthday, the unveiling and consecration of the marker will be held. Winona’s 60th Commemoration and Celebration commences June 9 and continues through the end of the year.
A June 9-12 commemoration and celebration honoring Winona’s Fannie Lou Hamer Day will be presented by Land Literacy and Legacy’s Bridging Winona: Past Present Future initiative. Free events will provide opportunities that will guide Winona and the region in understanding the relevance of contemporary issues concerning democracy, race, and social justice as well as the importance of community engagement for transformative collective change.
The weekend’s events include the Fannie Lou Hamer Legacy Landowner Summit which will highlight the Mississippi Center for Justice’s Heir’s Property presentation that gives legal information that will help families retain their heirs’ property. A screening of ARound Robin Production Company’s film, “Little Light of Mine: The Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer” followed by a panel discussion will be presented by its creator: Emmy-award winning television host, journalist, producer and moderator Robin N. Hamilton. The screening, set for 10 a.m. June 10 at Winona Baptist Church, located at 514 Campbell Street in Winona, is sponsored by the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. The Mississippi Humanities Council is sponsoring a theatrical performance that is inspired by award-winning writer Carole Boston Weatherford’s children’s book “Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer – Spirit of the Civils Rights Movement.” Performances will be presented at the Montgomery County Performing Arts Center June 9-11.
Two events are scheduled for the Winona Jail marker site on the corner of Oak Drive and Sterling Avenue. On June 9, a Fannie Lou Hamer Day commemoration ceremony is scheduled. On Monday, June 12, the day Mrs. Hamer and the other activists were released from the Montgomery County Jail, a community landscaping project is planned.
Later this year Bridging Winona will facilitate More Stories to Tell, an oral history project in collaboration with Alluvial Collective of Jackson and Mississippi Humanities Council. The University of Mississippi will sponsor the Fannie Lou Hamer Legacy Historical Tour that was introduced during Bridging Winona’s 2022 inaugural commemoration. The tour will be an experiential learning bus tour guided by HISTORICH, a tourism and educational services company. The tour will go through the Mississippi Delta traveling in the footsteps of Fannie Lou Hamer. Bridging Winona will also launch its inaugural Winona Historical Tour as a catalyst for heritage tourism and economic development in Montgomery County.
Land Literacy and Legacy and Bridging Winona’s vision is to create awareness of the importance of our local and national history, through educating and bridging community in Winona and beyond.