Six women will be honored Oct. 6 for their contributions to their communities as this year's recipients of the Fannie Lou Hamer Award, given by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Committee on the birthday of the renowned feminist and civil rights activist.
Honorees are Del. Joan Cadden; Christine S. Davenport, the first black member of the Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee from District 32; Mitzi Bernard, a South County activist; Shelia Raynor-Frazier, a Glen Burnie activist; Shannon Wells, a Severn activist; and Modestine Truvillion Wesley, a resident of Edgewater.
All will be honored at a gala reception at the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis. Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Rodney C. Warren will give the keynote address.
In a statement, organizer Vaughn T. Phillips said the recipients of the award "are individuals who are not necessarily household names, but rather people who, in their own quiet way like Mrs. Hamer, make a difference at the grass-roots level."
Awards committee chairman Carl O. Snowden said in a statement that "each of these women has worked to make our county a better place to live and work."
Hamer was best known for her address to the Democratic National Convention in 1964. At that convention, Hamer shared her experience of being fired from her job and beaten in jail by prisoners acting on order from Mississippi Highway Patrolmen. Her televised testimony was influential in the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.