Upcoming Events

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 six 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 601-979-1562 or 601-979-4348 or email: Hamer.Institute@JSUMS.edu


Tickets are now available: $40.00/Person * $285.00/ Table of 8

Reserve your seats today at: http://2015hamerhumanitarianawardsluncheon.eventbrite.com

2015 Humanitarian Awards Luncheon

Press Release Poster 2015

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On February 19, 1965, Malcom X was brutally gunned down in New York City at the Audubon Ballroom in upper Manhattan.  He had been a member of the Nation of Islam (NOI) recruiting thousands of new members and building chapters throughout the country.  After leaving the NOI, he founded the Muslim Mosque Incorporated and the Organization of Afro-American Unity.  Leading up to his death, Brother Malcolm had a transformative experience on his pilgrimage to Mecca and travels throughout Africa in 1964.  

On February 16, 2015, The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO will honor the Life  and Legacy of Malcolm X by hosting his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz at Jackson State University.  His daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, has recently captured her father’s experience in an edited volume titled The Diary of Malcolm X.  She has also written an autobiography about her life titled Growing Up X along with a children’s book titled Little Malcolm

During a 10:00 a.m. Keynote Address in the Liberal Arts Auditorium, Ms. Shabazz will speak to the university body (faculty, staff, and students). This event will be epic for JSU in that it will be the 50th anniversary of Malcom X’s assassination with his daughter present to recount her life’s experiences with him. 

Ilyasah Shabazz, (pronounced ILL-YAH-SAH SHAH-BOZZ) is an author, producer, and motivational speaker as she lectures to capacity audiences across the United States. Her coming-of-age Random House publication, Growing Up X, won critical acclaim, including an NAACP Image Award nomination, BET best book list, and United Press International book of the week.

ILYASAH produced training programs to encourage higher education for at-risk youth sanctioned by the City University of New York: Office of Academic Affairs. She served 12 years on the Youth Board for the City of Mount Vernon’s Mayor Ernest D. Davis; including appointments as Director of Public Relations, Director of Public Affairs & Special Events, and later promoted to Director of Cultural Affairs. Ilyasah served as a member of the U.S. delegation that accompanied President Bill Clinton to South Africa to commemorate election of President Nelson Mandela. Ilyasah is a mentor for the We Are Family foundation—dedicated to inspire, educate and promote a global family through building bridges between cultures for young leaders of the world. She mentors at various group homes, lock-up facilities, high schools and college campuses through production of The WAKE-UP Tour™: ‘X’-Tra Credit Forums—her exclusive youth empowerment program.

ILYASAH retraced her father’s footsteps to the Holy City of Mecca and is included in the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World.  She explored religious and historical sites in both Egypt and Jordan as the guest of Her Royal Highness Princess Alia Al Hussein. Ilyasah has participated in interfaith dialogue study programs under Rabbi Nancy Kreimer and Dr. Aziza Al Hibri. Ilyasah served as a member of the American Interfaith Leadership delegation that participated with the “Malaria No More Foundation” to provide 2 million bed nets, ultimately saving the lives of 95% at-risk children in Mali, West Africa.  Ilyasah is trustee of the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center and the Malcolm X Foundation. 

During an 11:00 am Book Review, as part of the Black History Makers Forum, Jackson State University and Jackson Public School Students will engage in intellectual discourse while discussing her book, Growing up X: A Memoir by the Daughter of Malcolm X.

There will be a 6:00 pm Inter-Generational Dialogue between Ilyasah Shabazz and Reena Evers (daughter of Medgar Evers) that will be open to the public.  Reena Evers-Everett is currently 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 the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute, Mrs. Evers-Everett, engages thousands of high school students across the country to learn about the Civil Rights Movement and ways to overcome cultural barriers. This inter-generational conversation between Reena Evers and Ilyasah Shabazz will be groundbreaking…the first ever public conversation between to the two daughters of human rights martyrs in Mississippi. Refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015: Shabazz will participate in an 8:00 am “Read-In” at Brown Elementary. There, she will discuss her children’s book, MALCOLM LITTLE: the Boy Who Would Grow up To Become Malcolm X (Simon and Schuster).  The book is beautifully illustrated and has had overwhelmingly positive response from young children.

Student presentations will be held on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 11:30 am at the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO exhibit space located at 1017 John R. Lynch Street. While the theme of the forum is “Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Malcolm X”,  high school, undergraduate, and graduate students will engage and present their scholarship before an audience of their peers, faculty/staff, and professional scholars centered around the theme of the “Life and Legacy of Malcolm X” and interdisciplinary topics. 

This event is FREE and open to the Public. Please register now to be sure you have a seat!



If you have any questions, please contact the Hamer Institute @ COFO





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Public History Forum:  The Growth of African American Focused Museums in the 21st Century

October 7, 2014, 6 p.m. @ the COFO Complex

This panel will discuss the growing field of museum-related opportunities in Mississippi as well as the importance of collections, fundraising, exhibitions, and museum education.  Participants will be exposed to the critical work being done in Mississippi as it relates to building 21st century museums relative to the African American experience.  

Dion Brown, Executive Director, B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, Indianola, Mississippi. 

Jacqueline K. Dace, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum Project Manager, Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Pamela Junior, Museum Manager, Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center

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The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO

Presents the 31st  Annual Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Symposium:

“Remembering the Testimony at the Credentials Committee:

A Testimony of Faith, Freedom and First Class Citizenship”


In 1964 Fannie Lou Hamer testified before the Democratic Party’s Credentials Committee about the suffering of African-Americans and those willing to help fight for a true democracy in America that would allow everyone the right to vote.  As a founding member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, Mrs. Hamer was the spokeswoman for the movement and paid a heavy price for her activism.  Fast forward fifty years later and there continues to be unfair discriminatory practices and ill-warranted treatment of African-Americans, particularly young black men.  In honor of Mrs. Hamer, this symposium seeks to uncover the often times overlooked plight of urban youth in their relationship to law enforcement and the criminal justice system and bring forth solutions to the growing rates of imprisonment and violence in our communities.


Come and be a part of this years’ symposium: “Remembering the Testimony at the Credentials Committee: A Testimony of Faith, Freedom and First Class Citizenship”



·         Thursday, October 9, 2014; 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

  • 11:30 AM – Session I - The Criminalization of Urban Youth in America: Why Ferguson?  Why now?
  • 1:00 PM – Session II- Know Your Constitutional Rights



WHERE: The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO, 1017 John R. Lynch Street, Jackson, MS 39217

(at the corner of John R. Lynch Street and Rose Street)


special guests:

David A. Rembert, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology, College of Liberal Arts, Jackson State University; William H. Hanson, J.D., Department Chair, Administration of Justice, Co-Director, Law and Democracy Program, Chabot College; Kevin Lavine, Hinds County Deputy Commander,  Instructor,  Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology, Jackson State University; Rhonda C. Cooper, J.D., Clinical Assistant Professor and Pre-Law Advisor, Department of Political Science, Jackson State University; and Tawanda Martin – Fisher, Next Level Faith Ministry, CEO of Magnolia Peach, INC. 


For more information, please contact The Hamer Institute at (601) 979-1562,

601-979-1563 or email: hamer.institute@jsums.edu.

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"Jackson State University to Hosts National Endowment for the Humanities

Summer Institute on Mississippi Civil Rights”


Through a competitive process, faculty from Jackson State University, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Tougaloo College, and Southwest Minnesota State University, who make up the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute on Citizenship and Democracy, were awarded a grant supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct a summer institute on Mississippi Civil Rights.  The Endowment is a federal agency that, each summer, supports these enrichment opportunities at colleges, universities, and cultural institutions, so that faculty can work in collaboration and study with experts in humanities disciplines. The approximately 437 NEH Summer Scholars who participate in these programs of study will teach over 113,925 American students the following year

The NEH summer institute is entitled “Finding Mississippi in the National Civil Rights Narrative:  Struggle, Institution Building, and Power at the Local Level.”  The three-week program will be held at Jackson State University from June 8th-27th.                                               

The summer institute highlights the various narratives of the Civil Rights Movement, while bringing the Mississippi and national stories together.  To provide essential context, the institute will briefly survey the history of African Americans from slavery through the crucibles of the Civil War and Reconstruction and during the dark journey of Jim Crow. Key moments will be examined to clarify and explain why a massive and successful Movement for freedom emerged after 1954. Specifically, participants will explore in great depth the struggle for freedom in Mississippi while comparing it to significant events in other parts of the American South, creating an analysis that addresses the power of the older national narrative and integrating the newer one, which is based on community struggle.  The participants will engage in thought-provoking discussions and lectures led by veteran civil rights activists and scholars and travel to prominent historic sites, such as the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and Fannie Lou Hamer’s home in Ruleville, Mississippi. By the end of the institute, which coincides with the weeklong celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer, summer scholars would have placed the local within the national narrative, providing new analytical tools for understanding the transformative impact of the Civil Rights Movement. 

The 25 college and university faculty selected to participate in the program each receive a stipend of $2700.00 to cover their travel, study, and living expenses. 

For more information, and to view summer participants, please visit: www.jsums.edu/HamerInstitute/neh-summer-institute

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