Quotes to Live By (QTLB) – Fannie Lou Hamer, Civil Rights Activist

Along with sharing featured songs from its “Soundtrack for the Revolution (ASFTR)” playlist, Black Like Vanilla is also sharing Quotes to Live By (QTLB) from prominent Black people from our past to our present, located in the “Featured Post” section of this website.  These quotes are words of wisdom, caution, inspiration, and so on, that we can collectively use to motivate, unite, and educate us as a people as we continue this journey, fighting for the basic civil and human rights afforded to us in this country.

Today’s Featured Quote is:

Give us a chance to be young men, respected as a man, as we know this country was built on the Black backs of Black people across this country. And, if we don’t have it, you ain’t gonna have it either, cause we gone tear it up.

This is a quote from Civil Rights Icon, Fannie Lou Hamer. It is from an interview in the 1968 documentary, The Heritage of Slavery w/Fannie Lou Hamer and Lerone Bennett, Jr. Its revelance holds true today, especially considering that the jury begins deliberations today for the trial of Amber Guyger, the Dallas officer who shot and killed Botham Jean while he sat, eating ice cream, watching TV. Black people wait to see if and how the justice system will fail us…as it has time and time again. Which leads us to the 1968 quote from Fannie Lou Hamer. The quote in its entirety is as follows.

You see the flag 🇺🇸is its drenched with our blood. Because, you see, so many of our Ancestors was killed because we have never accepted slavery. We’ve had to live under it, but we’ve never wanted it! So we know that this flag is drenched with our blood, so what the young people are saying now “Give us a chance to be young men, respected as a man, as we know this country was built on the Black backs of Black people across this country. And, if we don’t have it, you ain’t gonna have it either, cause we gone tear it up,” that’s what they’re saying, and people ought to understand that. I don’t see why they don’t understand it. They know what they’ve done to us. All across this country, they know what they’ve done to us. This country is desperately sick and man is on the critical list. I really don’t know where we go from here.

51 years later, our blood still stains the flag. 51 years later, Black people are still demanding to be respected has men. 51 years later, Black people still have deal with those who turn a blind eye to the injustices we face. 51 years later, Black people are still fighting to prove our lives matter. 51 years later, Black people are still unsure about where we go from here. And that is because these are not problems for Black people to fix.  The onus falls on America to rid itself of its sickness. The onus that falls on Black people is to continue recognizing our value, worth, and power because if we can’t enjoy our freedom, nobody can. We built this country with our blood, sweat, and tears and that is exactly what it will take to tear this shit down. Who is ready to get uncomfortable?