Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 338
Fannie Lou Hamer was a voting-rights activist who worked to help black people in America vote. She was born in Mississippi into a family of sharecroppers. She was strongly influenced by the Bible, which led her to believe that white people could be forgiven for racism and that black people had the right to an equal say in the political process. She encouraged and worked with white activists to help black people gain equal rights.
Cleveland Sellers was also an activist who was driven more by his education at Howard University than his religious beliefs. However, his religious beliefs were still important to him. He grew up as an Episcopal Christian. When it came to his activism, however, Sellers believed in the rights of black people to lead the equal rights movement and was a member of the Black Panthers.
Edwin King is a Protestant reverend who was born in Mississippi. He worked at Tougaloo College and helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Like, Hamer, he was encouraged to work for equal rights because of his belief in his religion. The work he did to help people achieve Civil Rights caused a lot of social strife for him, separating him from family members and people in the larger congregation. He encouraged white Christians to allow black people to attend church services.
William Douglas Hudgins was another Protestant pastor who did not want integrated church services. He was born in Tennessee and worked at the First Baptist Church in Mississippi. He didn't see racism as a sin like many other widely accepted sins and therefore didn't speak against racism or the lack of equal rights.
Sam Bowers was a Klu Klux Klan leader who went to federal prison after successfully planning the deaths of equal rights activists. He only served nine years in federal prison. He believed the fight for Civil Rights was really a plot against Christians by black people and Jewish people. He claims that he believed he had to stop the movement because of that.
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