Civil Rights Landmarks

Hamer Humanitarian Award Luncheon




The 2015 Fannie Lou Hamer Humanitarian Awards Luncheon

Press Release

The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO

Will Honor Five (5) Exceptional Citizens


The Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy will recognize five agents of change during the 2015 Fannie Lou Hamer Humanitarian Awards Luncheon to be held Friday, April 24, 2015.  The honorees will receive the Fannie Lou Hamer Humanitarian Award in an 11:30 a.m. ceremony held in Ballrooms A & B of the New Student Union on the campus of Jackson State University.

To be honored are Mr. MacArthur Cotton, a Veteran of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and former member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Mr. Cotton grew up in Mississippi during the 1950s, when life for Black Mississippians was not much different than it had been during the time of slavery.  Cotton’s commitment to social justice was uncanny.  As a member of SNCC, he was committed to keeping the peace in and around small towns in Mississippi.   The Hamer Institute will also honor Ms. Reena Evers-Everette, the daughter of Medgar and Myrlie Evers and the Executive Director of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute, which provides education and civil-engagement programs to show Medgar Evers' vision on civil rights. Through her work, Mrs. Evers-Everette enables thousands of high school students across the country to learn about the Civil Rights Movement.  The head of the Southern Regional Office of the Children's Defense Fund, Ms. Oleta G. Fitzgerald will also be recognized as a Hamer Award recipient.  Mrs. Fitzgerald, a champion when addressing concerns for our children, took a stand to advocate fully funding MAEP to the legislature.  The Hamer Institute is also recognizing Mr. Hank Holmes, former Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH). Having served this state for more than 42 years, Mr. Hank Holmes has helped to archive the rich history of Mississippi. Mr. Holmes spearheaded such accomplishments as an electronic records section that serves as a national model; expansion of efforts to preserve Mississippi American Indian history, the Eudora Welty House and Garden, and the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum which plans to open in 2017. Ms. Cynthia Goodloe Palmer, Executive Director of the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, Inc., is also an honoree.  While music is her passion, she has been recognized for her work as a public servant in and around Mississippi, working with various groups and agencies. Palmer serves on the Board of Directors of the SNCC Legacy Project and the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of "Bloody Sunday", the Selma to Montgomery March, and The Voting Rights Act Committee.  Most recently, she served as the Executive Director for the Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Commemoration and Operations Director for the Freedom Riders 50th Anniversary Commemoration. 

Come let us recognize our fellow citizens, Friday, April 24, 2015, on the campus of Jackson State University.  For more information, please contact the Hamer Institute at 601-979-1563 or 601-979-4348 or email: