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Race And Gender

             Many fought for the rights and equality of African Americans in the Civil Rights Movement. Fannie Lou Hamer was one of these soldiers who believed in this cause and often overlooked the gender issues that were relevant as well. She fought for the rights of all African Americans, but did not see the gender issues for women as important to the cause at that time. As a woman, she fought to better the race before the betterment of the females of the race. Hamer's quest was the empowerment of race rather than race and gender. Only when the right to vote, hold office and equality gained, could African American women be concerned about their home, family, and work environments. This clearly shows that Hamer placed race above gender in her efforts in the Civil Rights Movement.
             Many women during this time-period placed this cause above their home life. Thousands of women left their homes and banded together to fight for the rights of the race, not just the men, like Martin Luther King Jr., who are noted in history. "Women of all classes got involved and this illustrates how much women's roles have been overlooked by history." These women left their homes, and in some cases, family, to fight for the rights of the race above gender, and, ultimately, got little to no credit for their efforts. These women were, in fact, discouraged in documenting their stories. "Women were discouraged from taking up their pens at the same time they lost much of the rationale for female leadership that had been generated during the previous era." Even in the cases that wanted to, these women could only pass down their stories by mouth successfully. As they lost the right and ability to tell their stories, the female leadership they had fought for during the suffrage movement began to dissolve as the race became more important than gender. Hamer did not see this as a problem for she believed that only when the rights of all blacks were gained, could the rights of the genders be dealt with effectively.

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