This chapter focuses on the time when Sunflower County became the focal point of national attention and civil rights agitation. At the same time, Fannie Lou Hamer lived in a rented three-room white frame house about twenty feet off this narrow road. The street was not paved then as it is today, but many of the rectangular, shotgun houses date back at least two generations. Stand beneath the outstretched arms of a pecan tree on a summer's day, and even in the shade the beads of perspiration begin to form. Under these trees, Hamer played host to a sweaty mass of “outside agitators” who streamed into the state in 1964 to work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee on the Mississippi Summer Project, also known as “Freedom Summer.” Hamer's home at 626 E. Lafayette Street, with its faded wallpaper and worn-down linoleum floors, became an unofficial headquarters of SNCC's efforts in Sunflower County that summer.
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