Tomnolen, Mississippi

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Researching Fannie Lou Townsend Hamer’s early life is fraught with complications, most notably a lack of documentation.  Save for the occasional census records, early documentation of her life and the life of her family, beginning in October 1917, is very difficult to locate.  As such, researchers don’t know precisely where she was born.  In several oral histories, Hamer claims that she was born in Montgomery County, Mississippi, without giving a town or village name.  However, during her testimony at a federal trial held in Oxford, Mississippi in December 1963, Hamer said she was born in unincorporated Tomnolen, Mississippi.  This is the first and only time Hamer made this claim, but making it under oath, we take her at her word. Tomnolen is in Webster County, Mississippi.