The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO

Civil Rights Landmarks

Dear Friends of the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO,

This Fall 2016, we are excited to share good news with you. Over the past few months, the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO has been working hard to continue to provide new exhibits, thought provoking lectures and public programming, and sustainable community relationships.

The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO: Human and Civil Rights Interdisciplinary Education Center, recently received a grant supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in the amount of $216,000 to conduct a summer institute for university and college teachers to study the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement The NEH is a federal agency that supports enrichment opportunities at colleges, universities, and cultural institutions, so that faculty can work in collaboration and study with experts in humanities disciplines. The summer institute is entitled “Mississippi in the National Civil Rights Narrative” and will be held over a three-week program at Jackson State University from June 11-30, 2017.  The summer institute highlights the various narratives of the Civil Rights Movement, while bringing the Mississippi and national stories together. 

On Saturday, September 24, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. The Institute will participate in The Grand Opening of The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) by hosting a watch party to celebrate this historic occasion. Across the country and around the world, watch parties and other signature events are being organized by local museums, individuals or corporations as co-celebrants with the NMAAHC Grand Opening. The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO will host the watch party on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 9:00am central time. Breakfast will be provided.

On Wednesday, September 28, 2016, at 1:00 p.m., the Institute will host an Authors Book Talk featuring Ibram X. Kendi and his book, Stamped From the Beginning:  The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America that explores how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.

On Wednesday, October 5, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO will unveil the COFO freedom trail marker. The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) has been awarded a historic designation on the Mississippi Freedom Trail.  The Mississippi Freedom Trails program is a program of Visit Mississippi (Mississippi Development Authority/Division of Tourism) that celebrates and honors sites in the state of Mississippi that hold historical significance.  This is a special honor for Jackson State University because it will be one of a few institutions serving as the home to two markers.

On Thursday, October 6, 2016, the Hamer Institute will partner with the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden and Museum Foundation in celebrating the 99th birthday of Fannie Lou Hamer in Ruleville, MS. Fannie Lou Hamer was a civil rights leader who was born and raised in Mississippi and was instrumental in forming the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and leading the MFDP delegates to challenge the all-white Mississippi delegation at the 1964 National Convention held in Atlantic City.  In recognition of this great civil rights icon, the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO will begin celebrating and commemorating the centennial of Fannie Lou Hamer through a series of programming and exhibitions beginning in January 2017. Please stay tuned…

On Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 11:30 am., The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute@ COFO will host “Mississippi’s Spanish Heritage: Selected Writings, 1492-1798.” JSU instructor Esperanza Velásquez and MDOT archaeologist Lizbeth Velásquez will present “Mississippi’s Spanish Heritage: Selected Writings, 1492-1798.”  This presentation will explore the Spanish encounter in Mississippi and how it left its mark.  The presentation is co-sponsored by JSU’s Department of History & Philosophy and the Mississippi Hispanic Association in commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th – October 15th) and Archaeology Month (October).  Free and open to the general public.

On Friday, October 14, 2016 at 11:30 am. The Fannie Lou Hamer Pre-Law Society will present its 2016 Fall Lecture. This event will be held at the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO located at 1017 John R. Lynch Street, Jackson, MS 39217. 

The Fannie Lou Hamer Pre-Law Society (The Society) is the service arm of the pre-law program and furthers student interest in the law through activities and events designed to educate and empower.

The Society introduced the Lecture Series events as a means by which students interested in attending law school could obtain practical knowledge and information directly from licensed, practicing attorneys. The members expressed particular interest in inviting speakers who are JSU and/or HBCU graduates and who may practice law in non-traditional settings. The bi-semester events are hosted pre-lunch time on Fridays and open to the entire JSU and Metro-Jackson legal communities. 

The theme for the fall 2016 Lecture Series Event is Honoring Black Cultural Unity: From HBCU to Law School & Beyond. The Event speakers are Attorneys Johnnie McDaniels, Executive Director of the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center; Trent Walker, Civil and Criminal Litigator; and Amorya Orr, Forman Watkins & Krutz Law Firm with introductory comments by Hinds County Circuit Clerk Zack Wallace.  


Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 6:00 p.m., The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO will host a film screening of “The 30th of May.” For over 100 years, the city of Natchez had two Memorial Day celebrations—one black and one white. By the mid-1990's, the white celebration faded away, while the black celebration known as the "30th of May" continued to march on.  Virtually unknown outside of the region, this annual event is passed down from generation to generation giving evidence that the roots of patriotism run deep in the Mississippi River towns of Vidalia, Louisiana and Natchez, Mississippi. 

Thursday November 10, 2016, at 6:00 p.m., The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO will host a Parent Town Hall Discussion. Recently, the Mississippi Department of Education cited Jackson Public Schools for violating 22 of its 32 accreditation standards, including high school graduates not meeting state standards, numerous fights, late-running buses, unsafe buildings, unqualified teachers and a problem with disciplinary decisions by principals. In Jackson communities, violent crime is at 80 on a scale from 1 to 100. Property crime is at 81. What role can parents and community members play to become change agents for our communities?  This Town Hall will be an open event for parents to discuss with Jackson Public School officials, City Administrators, and Law Enforcement how to alleviate the issues of our school districts and communities.

November 28, 2016, at 6:00pm – The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO will host a forum:  “Saving Our Girls.” This will be an event for middle and high school girls and their mothers. The panel for this discussion will be organizers, leaders and teachers that have a vested interest in helping young women become effective leaders, build a higher self-esteem and develop self-worth.