Common to Produce Biopic of Voting Rights Activist Fannie Lou Hamer (Exclusive)

Common and Fannie Lou Hamer
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Courtesy Everett Collection

'God’s Long Summer' is written by Peter J. Meli.

Civil and voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer will be getting the biopic treatment.

Common is set to produce a feature about the life of Hamer, titled God’s Long Summer, which will follow Hamer's rise from oppressive plantation sharecropping system in 1962 Mississippi where at 44 years of age, according to the project's synopsis "she fought against the Southern political establishment, systemic racism and misogyny by exercising her right to vote and fighting for the rights of others. Labeled as plain spoken and unfit to lead the movement, Hamer captivated the nation with her powerful voice, sheer will, and faith in her fight against leaders at the highest levels of state and federal government and within the Civil Rights Movement itself to help secure passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965."

Peter J. Meli wrote the screenplay, based on Hamer’s 1967 autobiography To Praise Our Bridges and the book God’s Long Summer by Charles Marsh, which chronicles of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s through the struggles and triumphs of key actors, including Hamer.

Waxylu Films is behind the project, along with Dream Management and Entertainment and Triump Inc., which hold the rights to Hamer’s life story. Along with Common, whose past producing credits include Selma and The Chi, Jennifer Madeloff and Jeff Waxman will produce God’s Long Summer for Waxylu Films, along with Jay Speights, D. Min of Triumph Inc., and Jackie Bazan of Bazan Entertainment.

“Fannie Lou Hamer is a revolutionary figure we should all know,” says Common. “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.”

Charles McLaurin, field secretary for the Hamer-organized Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee's first voter organizing efforts in the Mississippi Delta and close friend of Hamer, along with Hamer’s cousin Minister Vester Townsend Lobbins will serve as story consultants.

“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 powerful voice to the current struggle to pass new voting rights legislation," offers McLaurin. 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,” says Minister Vester Townsend Lobbins