An article from Memphis World reporting Hamer’s thoughts on medical care for African Americans, May 9, 1964.


Mississippi's first Negro woman candidate for U. S. Congress, Mrs. Fannie. Lou Hamer of Ruleville, spoke here recently on "Medical Care and Pubic Health" in Mississippi, and Washington County in particular. Mrs. Hamer said there were only six Negro doctors in Washington County where the Negro population is 43,408 or 352 percent, a situation forcing Negroes to seek help from white doctors. (There are 35,230 whites in the county).

"At the white doctor's office we're put in a little over-crowded room and made to wait all day until the doctor treats his white patients. She told the crowd that throughout the 2nd Congressional District, where she is running for Democratic nomination, the death rate is twice as high for Negroes as for whites.

"One third of the Negro babies born in Washington County each year are delivered by midwives. Only two white babies out of 823 born last year were delivered by midwives. And people wonder why the white infant mortality rate is 26.1 percent but 67.2 percent for Negroes," she said.

Mrs. Hamer attributed this to segregated hospital facilities "which lower the quality of patient care and violate professional ethics," and "the poverty of segregation." "Poverty and poor health form an unbreakable circle, one which need attention from the people who are supposed to represent us, she said.