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In 1971 Essence magazine sent Draper on assignment to Mississippi to photograph civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. This portrait appeared with the article “Fannie Lou Hamer Speaks Out,” in the October issue. Known for her fearlessness and strength in the midst of violence and intimidation, Hamer had been arrested and severely beaten by police in 1963 for her work on voter registration drives. She gained national attention when she returned to her activism in the mid-1960s, and this photograph visually distills her voice: “Today I don’t have any money, but I’m freer than the average white American ‘cause I know who I am. I know what I’m about, and I know that I don’t have anything to be ashamed of.”
National Endowment for the Arts Fund for American Art
A Commitment to the Community: The Black Photographers Annual, Volume I, VMFA, February 16, 2017 – October 1, 2017
Identity Shifts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, April 26 – July 27, 2014
"Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop", VMFA, February 1, 2020 - June 14, 2020
Reid, Zachary. "Capturing the character of everyday people." Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 10, 2016. (front page, A6)