Young to perform Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light November 7 | Judson College


Young to perform Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light November 7

Dr. Billie Jean Young, Artist-in-Residence and Associate Professor of Fine and Performing Arts at Judson College, will perform her one-woman show, Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light, on Thursday, November 7 at 7:00 p.m. in Judson College’s Alumnae Auditorium.

Young has mesmerized audiences for more than three decades with her two-act drama depicting the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, American voting rights activist and civil rights leader. Hamer was a sharecropper in Mississippi who was drawn into the Civil Rights Movement by her desire to secure equality and voting rights for all America’s people. “I wrote the play,” Young says, “to give voice to a then unsung heroine and because the Civil Rights Movement was an important part of my own life.”

Fannie Lou Hamer speaks to the Democratic National Convention’s Credentials Committee on behalf of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964.

Since the play’s premiere in 1983, Young, who also plays the title character in the one-woman show, has performed This Little Light over 800 times on four continents.

Young’s play follows Hamer’s life in Mississippi, her call to equip every citizen to vote in a time when Jim Crow ruled, and the inspiration she drew (and gave) through the music that shaped the Civil Rights movement. Young said she wanted to highlight Hamer’s “fearlessness” and “who she was”, with the play. In a 2016 interview, Young remembered meeting Hamer after hearing her speak at Tuskegee University in 1969: “I was struck by how boldly she spoke…I asked her why she chose to do this work. She said, ‘Baby, I didn’t choose. I was chosen.’” Young’s rendering of Hamer provides a powerful glimpse of Hamer’s commanding, fearless personality and her deep desire to be used to help disenfranchised men and women in Mississippi, the South, and America.

The public is invited to attend the November 7 This Little Light performance. There will be no charge for admission.

Young graduated with distinction from Judson College in 1974 and went on to earn a law degree from Cumberland School of Law. She returned to her alma mater in 2006 as Artist-in-Residence and is now also Associate Professor of Fine and Performing Arts. She has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Fellow Genius Award for her community development leadership. For more information about Dr. Young and her work, including Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light, visit her website at