Oscar and Grammy Award-winner Common has once again moved into film production, taking on the role of co-producer on the upcoming biographical film God’s Long Summer. The film is drawn from the life and work of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer.
Hamer’s is an inspiring story. She began in the lowly position of a sharecropper in the oppressive plantation system in Mississippi, leaving the fields at the age of 44 to work for voting rights. At first labelled unequal to lead the movement, due to her background and her lack of expertise in public speaking, Hamer went on to captivate listeners with her powerful voice and her fierce dedication to the civil rights movement, and to overcome the barriers to universal voting rights, ultimately contributing to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
“Fannie Lou Hamer is a revolutionary figure we should all know,” producer Common remarks. “Her story and impact is evidence that Black history is American history. We have all benefited from her work and dedication. I feel blessed to be working with this incredible group of producers to bring this story to the screen.”
The screenplay for God’s Long Summer, written by Peter J Meli, is based on both Hamer’s 1967 autobiography, and Charles Marsh’s account of the US civil rights movement of the 1960s, also called God’s Long Summer. Story consultants include Charles McLaurin, field secretary for the first voter organising efforts in the Mississippi Delta and a friend of Hamer’s; and Hamer’s cousin, Vester Townsend Lobbins. McLaurin comments, “Honouring Mrs Hamer with a movie about her heroic life is long overdue.”
Adding: It’s impossible to talk about voting rights in America and not include Mrs Hamer. Her story will serve as a reminder of our long history of struggle to secure voter rights for all citizens in this country, and add her voice to the current struggle to pass new voting rights legislation.”
Minister Vester Lobbins adds, “I hope this movie will introduce Fannie Lou to a new generation of activists and freedom fighters, and inspire them to ‘keep on fighting ’til America gets it right,’ as she used to say. Fannie Lou is the exemplar of someone who saw injustice and did something about it that changed her life, and the lives of countless others in Mississippi and around the world.”