About The Institute

The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute

The Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy was founded at a National Endowment for the Humanities’ Summer Seminar for College Teachers in 1997.  Fannie Lou Hamerwas 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 National Institute has conducted summer seminars and workshops for K-12 teachers and students as well as community and four-year college faculty.

The Council of Federated Organizations

The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) was established in 1961 as an umbrella organization to unify and meet the needs of an increasing presence of civil rights organizations in Mississippi, including: Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), National Association for theAdvancement of Colored People (NAACP), and a host of local organizations. In 1963, COFO made 1017 John R. Lynch Street its home, and this office served as the state headquarters for theMississippi movement.  Making voter registration and education a top priority for the Mississippi movement, COFO was instrumental in organizing the 1963 Freedom Vote, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project.

The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO

In the Fall of 2013 these two entities, the COFO Civil Rights Education Complex and the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy, with their near identical missions and purposes were merged to create the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO:  A Human and Civil Rights Interdisciplinary Education Center.   Its mission is to empower humanity through education, intergenerational dialog, and cultural awareness.  Together, The Hamer Institute @ COFO seeks to advocate for human rights and social justice through public programming, exhibitions, and community outreach.