PORTLAND — “I Question America,” a Broadway-styled, one-woman play honoring the life of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, will be presented Wednesday, Feb. 16, as part of USM’s celebration of African-American History Month.

Hamer grew up in Mississippi and worked in the cotton fields.  The play is a testament to Hamer’s ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and make a difference in the world.

Hamer struggled for many years, protesting and speaking against racism and for equal rights, eventually speaking in front of Congress. She was jailed many times and savagely beaten because of her outspoken support.

In 1968, after years of fighting, Hamer received a standing ovation when she was seated at the Chicago Democratic Convention and elected Democratic National Committeewoman. Hamer’s efforts during the Civil Rights Movement assisted in getting the Voting Rights Act, Equal Employment Laws and Federal Housing Act passed.

Actress and author E.P. McKnight, a graduate of Fordham University, has toured nationally with “I Question America,” performing at many colleges and universities.

Today, she works as a poet, actress and writer. In addition to “I Question America,” she has also written “Catch the Spirit,” a play about Bessie Coleman, the first female African American aviator, and “Words ‘N’ Action,” a book of inspirational poetry. Her acting credits include stage, film and television shows, such as “Rat Race,” “Law & Order” and “ER.”

The play will begin at 5 p.m. in USM’s Hannaford Lecture Hall. Admission is free. A question-and-answer session and a book signing will follow the performance.

For more information, contact USM’s Office of Multicultural Affairs at 780-4006.

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