This Little Light of Mine

(in progress)



libretto by Diana Solomon-Glover

This Little Light of Mine dramatizes the story of Fannie Lou Hamer, a former sharecropper who rose to national prominence at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. As a black woman of humble origins, she spoke truth to power as perhaps no other civil rights leader. Adopted daughter Dorothy Jean Hamer tells how Fannie Lou and her husband “Pap” took in foster children as their own; how the injustices of “Jim Crow” South emboldened her to demand the right to vote for African-Americans; and how she shook the political world during “Freedom Summer” by helping found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Describing to the Convention Credentials Committee her harrowing story of harassment, arrest and beating by the police, Hamer pointedly asked: “Is this America?” Her efforts achieved limited success, but her voice resonated throughout the country and helped lead to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

Commissioned by Opera for All Voices consortium. Read the press release below:

Listen to Diana and Chandler discuss This Little Light of Mine in the podcast episode “Mother of the Movement” from Santa Fe Opera’s Key Change:


Fannie Lou Hamer; 45-50 (alto)

Dorothy Jean Hamer; 25 (mezzo-soprano)

June Johnson; 16-18 (light soprano)

Youth ensemble (SAB)


single strings, steel-stringed guitar, piano, drumset