After her Atlantic City experience, Mrs. Hamer turned her attention increasingly to building
strong institutions for addressing problems at the local level. She took an active role in antipoverty programs, especially Head Start, and in 1969 founded the Freedom Farms Corporation, designed to help poor farming families—black and white—become economically self-sufficient; in 1971 she sought to become a Mississippi state senator as an independent.
The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute, together now with the venerable Council of Federated Organizations, works to preserve the legacy of the Voting Rights Act and other measures that insure the functionality and fairness of American democracy. In 2013, however, the United States Supreme Court invalidated the most important sections of that law, opening the door for a return to election laws designed to discourage voting.