Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer | SLJ DVD Review

redstarVoice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer. 34 min. Dist. by Dreamscape. 2016. $38.99. ISBN 9781520016788.

voice-of-freedomGr 4-8 –This iconographic video expands on Carole Boston Weatherford’s exemplary picture book biography of Fannie Lou Hamer by adding narration and simple animation. Janina Edwards’s spirited narration conveys the beauty of Weatherford’s poetic text and convincingly voices Hamer’s perspective. Born in poverty, Hamer became a powerful voice of the civil rights movement. Forced to leave school after the sixth grade, she was in her forties when she first learned of her right to vote. Though registering to vote cost her work and drew death threats, Hamer was undaunted. With her signature song “This Little Light of Mine,” she rallied others to register and worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised. Throughout her life, Hamer faced hardships, which are described with candor and sensitivity. In 1963, after she and other civil rights workers sought service at a whites-only café, she was jailed and brutally beaten. Hamer refused to give up hope, though. Ekua Holmes’s exquisite collage art depicts Hamer in yellow, symbolic of her Mississippi Delta roots and resilience. The presentation lingers over details in the mixed-media collages: sunflower motifs, snippets of text, and maps on clothes. Folksy guitar and simple animations enliven the presentation: hands clap, heads nod, and a pick-up truck rumbles into view. VERDICT This well-crafted video is an excellent resource to supplement American history studies, especially the civil rights era. Hamer’s inspiring life story should resonate with a wide audience.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2016 issue.

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