The College of Liberal Arts, Department of Psychology, Institute for Social Justice and Race Relations, and The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO partners to bring this HOT TOPIC Tuesday discussion: Depression, Suicide, and Mental Illness: Breaking the Myths in the Black Community. 

Depression, Suicide, and Mental Illness are often seen as myths in the Black community. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depressive disorder is "one of the most common mental disorders in the United States."  This discussion is designed to spark a community dialogue on how to decrease stigmatization and increase support for those in need of mental health care. 

Special Guests Include:

Dr. Kearns-Cooper, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology and Faculty Co-advisor for the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) Student Circle at JSU;Dr. Juliette Schweitzer, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology and Faculty Co-advisor for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Club on Campus at JSU; Ms. Alexis Davis, Second-Year Clinical Doctoral Trainee in the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program as well as Founding President and Charter Member of the ABPsi Student Circle at JSU;  and,  Ms. Katharine A. McIntyre, Fourth-Year Clinical Doctoral Trainee in the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program at JSU

Hot topic tuesday - Depression Suicide and Mental Illness

Hamer Institute @ COFO Program and Event Survey

April 10th, 2015 by fannielou

Dear friends of the Hamer Institute @ COFO: 

Please take the time to complete the following survey regarding your most recent visit to the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO. 

Feedback on your experience is a vital part of ensuring that the programs and events hosted by our institute is as effective as possible.  Please click the link below and share your thoughts on the various aspects of our programming and/or events.  

Remember, your feedback is extremely valuable, so please let us know what you really think.    

Follow this link to the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO Program/ Event Survey:


An Evening with Judge Carlton Reeves

April 2nd, 2015 by fannielou

In response to the continuing denial of the right to vote and the shooting death of local protestor Jimmy Lee Jackson in February, 1965, citizens from Dallas County, Alabama and SNCC and SCLC activists scheduled a protest march from Selma to Montgomery for March 7th. On Sunday, March 7, 1965, as protesters crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were met with resistance and blocked by Alabama State troopers and local police. The protesters were ordered to turn around; when they refused, they were met with teargas and beaten savagely and violently. Because of the televised brutality, the day was referred to as “Bloody Sunday.” Although President Lyndon Johnson had signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 just months before, the ultimate march from Selma to Montgomery on March 21st was instrumental in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The 50th Commemoration of the march in Selma Alabama provided the impetus to host an evening with Judge Carlton Reeves on Tuesday, April 7th, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO. During this evening, Judge Carlton Reeves will engage the community in a dialogue regarding the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and his recent sentencing of the defendants responsible for the death of James Anderson in 2011. In conjunction with Judge Reeves' comments, there will also be a panel of students to discuss the College of Liberal Arts sojourn to Birmingham in 2013 through this year's travel to Selma, Alabama. 

Judge Carlton Reeves

Join us Tuesday, March 24, 2015, for the second in a three-part series, 

Murder, Mayhem, and Lynching: Constructing Race, Class, and Gender in America

with Dr. Deborah H. Barnes, Associate Professor of English at Jackson State University. 

This event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO

located at 1017 John R. Lynch Street on the JSU Campus.

The Furrow of His Brow: The Lost History of Black Lynch Mobs

In this discussion, Dr. Barnes will explore little known lore about African American lynch mobs, which, like their white counterparts, were committed to keeping the peace, insuring communal protection, and establishing standards for acceptable behavior.


The final lecture will be held on: Tuesday, March 31, 2015; 6 p.m., at Gallery1

Written in Blood: Discourses of Lynching
Lynching culture and racial violence were normalized and spread through newspaper coverage, published accounts, photographs, ballads, art and memorabilia.

The first discussion was held on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, at the Margaret Walker Center. Titled, The Noose and Pyre: Lynching and Racial Violence as Social Control, Dr. Barnes took a new look at lynching culture and practice during the nadir of American race relations. Barnes further examined the strategic use of racial violence against people of color as a means to construct “whiteness.”

These events are free and open to the public.

The Institute for Social Justice and Race Relations @ COFO,

Jackson State University Department of History & Philosophy,

Department of English & Modern Foreign Languages, and Gallery 1

The JSU Reading Community will engage in conversation with Akinyele Umoja,

author of

We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement"

Akinyele Umoja is an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Department of African-American Studies at Georgia State University. He teaches courses on the history of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements and other Black political and social movements.

He completed his undergraduate education at California State University Los Angeles, and graduating with a B.A. in Afro-American Studies in 1986 and achieved his secondary teaching credential through courses at Morris Brown College and finally Georgia State University in 1987. He went to graduate school at Emory University in Atlanta where he received his M.A. and PhD in American Studies with a concentration in African-American Studies.

Professor Umoja is the author of We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance and the Mississippi Freedom Movement (New York University, 2013). We Will We Shoot Back received the annual Anna Julia Cooper/ C.L.R. James Award from the National Council of Black Studies (NCBS) for the best book in Africana Studies in 2014. Dr. Umoja’s research has been featured in several scholarly publications:  Souls, The Journal of Black Studies, New Political Science, The International Journal of Africana Studies, The Black Scholar, Radical History Review and Socialism and Democracy. Umoja was one of the contributors to Blackwell Companion on African-American History, edited by Alton Hornsby; The Black Panther Party Reconsidered, edited by Charles E. Jones; and Liberation, Imagination, and the Black Panther Party, edited by Kathleen Cleaver and George Katisaficus.

Dr. Umoja is also active in the promotion and development of the field of Black/ Africana Studies. Umoja was the recipient of the National Council of Black Studies’ (NCBS) President Award for outstanding contribution to the discipline of African-American Studies. He currently serves as Board member of NCBS) AND is the chair of the NCBS Civic Engagement committee, which supports Black Studies departments’ community involvement projects. Umoja also serves on the editorial board of the historic journal The Black Scholar.

Two professional academic organizations, the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (1998) and the National Council of Black Studies (2008) have acknowledged Dr. Umoja’s work in the community. Professor Umoja is a human rights activist. He is a co-founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and active in social justice issues, particularly police and governmental misconduct.  He has worked in solidarity with the fight for democracy and social justice in Guyana and in Haiti. He is also the co-founder of Atlanta’s annual Malcolm X Festival, which is now in its 24th year. 

Join us on Friday, February 27, 2015 at 12:noon at the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO located at: 1017 John R. Lynch Street, Jackson, MS 39217

For more information, please contact us: 601-979-1563 or 601-979-4348 or email:


We Will Shoot Back

In the autumn of 1965, sharecroppers Mae Bertha and Matthew Carter enrolled the youngest eight of their thirteen children in the public schools of Drew, Mississippi. Their decision to send the children to the formerly all white schools was in response to a "freedom of choice" plan. The plan was designed by the Drew school board to place the district in compliance with the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Compliance was essential since without it, the district would no longer be eligible for financial support from the Federal government. Based on prevailing attitudes, it was unfathomable to the white population that African American families would choose white schools. They obviously did not know the Carter family.  

As part of a 3 part series of the "Its About You" Film Festival sponsored by the NMHS Unlimited Film Productions, The 50th Anniversary celebration will include the presentation of the film, “The Intolerable Burden,” a discussion with Carter family member Gloria Dickerson and others.  The film, “The Intolerable Burden,” places the Carter's commitment to obtaining a quality education in context, by examining the conditions of segregation prior to 1965, the hardships the family faced during desegregation, and the massive white resistance, which led to re-segregation.

This event will take place on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 9:30 am at the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO located at 1017 John R. Lynch Street, Jackson, MS. 

This event is FREE and OPEN to the public.

Funded in part by the Mississippi Humanities Council. 

Please make plans to attend TODAY. For more information, please contact the Hamer Institute @ COFO at 601-979-1563 or 601-979-4348 or email:


Intolerable Burden


As part of the 2015 "Its About You" Film festival, other events include: 


Tuesday, February 24 • Walking In Their Footsteps

6:00 p.m. • Tougaloo College, Ballard Hall • $5 donation

Walking In Their Footsteps is a play celebrating the lives of Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, Ida

Bell Wells Barnett, Eliza Farish Pillars, Annie Bell Robinson Devine and Gladys Noel Bates.


Thursday, February 26 • The Intolerable Burden

9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. • Jackson State University • Free Admission

6:00 p.m. • Tougaloo College, Bennie Thompson Auditorium • Free Admission

This event is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the integration of schools in Drew,

Mississippi, by the Carter family. Inclusive of film presentation and discussion with the



Friday, February 27 • Gideon’s Army

6:00 p.m. • Tougaloo College, Bennie Thompson Auditorium • Free Admission

This event will include a showing of the film and discussion with June Hardwick.


Saturday, February 28 • The Filmmaker’s Bash

7:00 p.m. • Mississippi Museum of Art • $50 (VIP Reception + Bash: $100)

VIP Reception • 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

The VIP Reception will include the premiere of the film “JESSIE: One Woman, One Vision”

– Dr. Jessie Bryant Mosley spent her life in Mississippi trying to make a difference in the

community. This film takes a look at her works as told by those who knew her.







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:

Humanitarian Award Poster 2015 - 1



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



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


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: