EXCLUSIVE: Remember the Titans scribe Gregory Allen Howard has teamed with Chris Columbus’ 1492 to tell the story of Fannie Lou Hamer, a sharecropper with a sixth-grade education who became an important voting-rights advocate and founded the first integrated political party in the South in mid-’60s Mississippi.
Hamer grew up in a family of 20 kids and picked cotton for most of her life. After going to a doctor to have a tumor removed, she discovered she was given a hysterectomy at age 47 by a white doctor, without her consent, because of a movement by the state to sterilize women to reduce the number of poor blacks in Mississippi. Hamer became a Civil Rights activist, surviving assassination attempts and a near-fatal beating to get her moment at the Democratic National Convention, where she challenged President Johnson in 1968 with her legendary, “Is This America?” speech. While LBJ hastily called a ruse press conference in the hope of diverting attention away from her speech, Hamer’s powerful words were widely broadcast and reverberated around the world. Howard, who studied Hamer’s accomplishments as a college student, has long been obsessed with bringing her story to the screen. Hamer died in 1977.
“Mrs. Hamer is arguably the greatest female political icon of the 20th century,” he said. “Because of her courage and inspiring words, she has earned a spot in the hearts of black America second only to Dr. King.”
1492’s Columbus, Michael Barnathan, Mark Radcliffe and Jenny Blum will produce with Howard. The production company and Howard are repped by WME, and Howard is managed by the Gotham Group.