The Play





          Acclaimed Broadway Style One Woman Play                                            




                             Temecula Museum 2012

I really enjoyed your performance in Temecula. It was wonderful!!! Hope to see it again when you perform in Los Angles this year. Enjoying your poetry book! You've done so much!!
Diane Wayne

          Brookdale Community College 2011
Ms. McKnight, I must say your performance broke new ground for our EOF program. It stood as a centerpiece to our day and its message is timeless. I wish you well in all that you do and I hope we can connect again. I look forward to your new works and I am now one of your fans! You have my support for future events and I will be recommending you whenever that opportunity presents itself.
Take care and be well.
Richard Morales-Wright

                   University of Southern Maine 2011

We are still receiving comments about your performance and how powerful it was. I really enjoyed out dinner with you and the students. You have a gift and know how to use it to impact others with a message of great importance. We are in this journey together, people like you and me, we have to be. Its a struggle, but we are re-energized when we meet a person like you. You gave me an added strength and I thank you for that. Its gets lonely....I am from the Penobscot Nation. We gather sweetgrass every year and use it for braids, earrings, and baskets, etc.
Let us know if you are in this part of the woods again. Maybe we could catch up.  You will be in our thoughts and prayers as your journey continues!!
Be well my friend
Susan H. Evans
Coordinator, Multicultural Student Affairs & Native American 

Ms. McKnight it was truly my honor to meet you.  Domonique is wired over YOU.  We saw your page and pictures...... very nice.  Domonique is very excited by the last paragraph of your message, and so am I....... thank you!  Mom was just about speechless when I told her of or meeting and the book and picture -- Mom is very touched.  You are welcome on the Facebook....  my male friends said you are very beautiful.  I didn't get to see your facebook post, though.  Domonique and I will stay in touch.  I believe God sends me places for a reason.   The blessing for continued success is always with YOU!

Big Smiles,

Renee Berry-Huffman

                            Youngstown University 2011
Dear E. P.
Your ears must be burning!  Bob and I have been telling everyone about your presentation.  We hope and pray that you will be back in our area soon. Thank you so much for sharing your time and talents with us.
Jocelyn Dabney

Dear Ms. McKnight,
Your performance was truly fabulous. The YSU professor who came with me kept thanking me for letting him know about the event.I would love to have you come back to Youngstown! I'll work on this when I return.
Penny Wells
                Penn State Harrisburg 2010 -2011

Ms. McKnight,
Phenomenal is the best adjective to describe your performance on Tuesday, March 22, 2011.  My students were overwhelmed, although as you could see were a bit edgy and undisciplined for such a performance venue. 
I do regret not being able to have a chance for an immediate Q& A with you.  I immediately went on line read more about you and knew I needed to have some follow up with you professionally, and with my Theatre Arts students.  I will be sending some of their comments to you in the next few days.  I'm not quite sure of the the time difference from Cali to PA, but I would want to arrange the telephone conference at 8:30AM  EST or 12:50 PM EST.
I do not have a website currentlt, but would like to send you some information about some of my previuos work in Theatre, as well as, vision for working in gospel ministry, tolerance and character education;performing arts i.e. djembe drumming, singing, and dramatic performance.
Please let me know if the times mentioned are condcuive for your schedule and what days of the week you may be available to shre with my students.  Many thnaks again for you memorable performance of a "freedom fighter  and warrior of the Christian faith", Fannie Lou Hamer. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Divine health  and blessings to you,
Eric L. Jackson, Sr.
Theatre Arts Teacher,
Harrisburg High School
Harrisburg, PA

EP – The pleasure was truly ours.  Your performance was amazing and I know the audience loved it.  Thanks for all your good work ; and thank you for the picture.  I think there is one in there that I actually like of myself.  
Donna Howard, M.Ed.
Penn State Harrisburg

Hello Ms. McKnight,  We are very thankful for the invitation and as we previously expressed our enjoyment of your wonderful talent!  We also enjoy listening to your CD!  You are truly amazing!  Please let us know if you are ever back this way. 
In Christ Love, Danetta Claybrook

Good Afternoon,   
The gentleman’s name is Eric Jackson would love to have you speak to his class.  I really enjoyed your presentation yesterday you were fabulous.
Have a great day
Stephanie  White
Office of Student Affairs
Penn State Harrisburg

                Loras College 2009

Hello EP!
  Below is an article that was written in the Loras newspaper about the show.
"Performer brings civil-rights activists fight for equality to life"
by Deepa Sagar

“I Question America” is a powerful play written and performed by E.P. McKnight, a writer, poet and teacher who performed on campus last Thursday night. McKnight’s character in “I Question America” is Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, a real-life voting-rights activist and civil-rights leader. Hamer, who was born in 1917, believed that everyone should be treated with dignity. While she respected Martin Luther King Jr., she also was her own person. Her personal experience in the South made her a strong role model and a source of strength for the society.
Hamer worked as a household servant to plantation owners and was not allowed to vote- though it was her right by law. In her mind, she was treated lower than a dog. When she asked to be treated as an equal, she said she often was beaten. Mrs. Fannie Lou was a powerful woman; she was determined to fight against injustice. She was also a very godly woman who possessed a natural talent that allowed her to speak whole-heartedly to the African-American community.
McKnight left everyone in the room in awe by her performance. It was so natural that, for a second, one could lose present day reality through her acting. When asked why she became involved with such a strong subject as freedom rights for blacks, the actress said she wanted to educate people about the struggles of minorities before and during the civil rights movement.
“We have heard a lot about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, but there are other strong individuals who have contributed just as much for justice and I want to educate my audience about it,” McKnight said.
  Mishereen Ellis and Cindy Behnke, from the intercultural office of Loras College, made the effort to organize this event. “I had hoped more people would have come to enjoy such a great performance, but it was very nice to see that people in the audience seemed to really enjoy the performance,” Ellis said.

                Wiliam Woods University 2009

RE: "I Question America-legacy of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer
I Question America -Legacy of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer is one of the best productions that has ever come to our campus.  The goals, motivations, and drive behind Mrs. Hamer's fight for civil rights was brought to life through the thought provoking, captivating performance of E.P. McKnight.  Many of our students, prior to the performance, had never heard of Mrs. Hamer, but since that time they have researched her, and in the spring of 2009, put together a trip to the south to retrace the steps of the Civil Rights Movement.  This was truly a production that made a change in every person present. Over Spring Break, the campus chaplain and I took a group of students to the south to retrace the steps of the Civil Rights Movement, and while there we visited the National Civil Rights Museum, which is part of the Lorraine Hotel where King was killed.  While there we came across an exhibit that honored women of the Civil Rights and they had an awesome display and tons of information on Fannie Lou Hamer.  What was most awesome, several of the students came to get me to see it because they remembered your performance and recognized her name.  The museum doesn't allow one to take pictures or to record anything, but I truly wish I could have gotten you some of the information from that featured exhibit, it was awesome.  
Well, I pray all is well and that the Lord continues to bless you wherever you go and in whatever you present.  Do stay in touch, I would love to have you come back and visit my church.  :o)
 God bless and keep you always.
Tamara Y. Carter

               University of North Florida 2009

Subject: Re: Show  at North Florida University
Hey LA Woman, EP,
Hope you ‘re home safe and sound.  Thank you! X 1,000,000.  Did we have a wonderful time ..or what?    I just got to my mailbox now……………the pictures from Jean captured your inspiring energy.  Thank you for your beautiful adaptation of a great story. I really learned  alot and was motivated by your performance. I will always remember it, Thank  you for the pictures and a great time.
God blessed me with a twenty four hour “life altering experience” in the guise and spirit of Fannie Lou.  My heart is singing….this little light of mine…da, dat, dah……..I’m gonna let it shine….. let it shine…….let it shine…….let it shine!!!!!!!!!   (And I will get my business cards….and sing for joy and prosperity)
Wow... thanks for the photos......I showed my husband Ray.....thank you for the great chat...wasn't E.P. inspiring in her role as Fanny?!.....
She really enjoyed meeting you at the performance...her heart is to inspire
her audiences..especially young people..that would be you....
Actually I feel very uplifted by E.P. and her character of joy
is she encouraged me to expand that expression..I will do
so........(I think Law practice is meaningful.....)  What is very apparent to me is that God blessed "us" all last  night.....don't you love when God shows His hand through the people placed  on your path too.  God has a mighty plan on your life.....and you are a blessing...  Warm regards to your girl friend, your friend Ray and the NFU gang.
Mary Champagne Toast   
Thank You

Dear Ms. McKnight
 I just wanted to send you a short email about how much I, among with many others, appreciated your performance tonight at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. It was an incredible performance and I was fully inspired.
I have recomended you to the high school I attended in Radnor, Pennsylvania, and hope that your message may be shared there as well.
Thank you for all that you do,
Jessica Wood

 NAACP presents @ Mary C. O"Keefe Cultural Ctr

Re: Interview @ Mary c. O"Keefe Cultural Center  Wednesday, February 4, 2009 2:14 PM

Dear Ms. McKnight,
Thanks so much for your kind letter. The feeling is mutual -- I had a wonderful time meeting and chatting with you and talking about your show and background. You gave such a strong performance, and I'm very happy our magazine covered the event.
Since the issue won't come out until the first of March, the article isn't a review, but more of a profile on you, your acting background, Mrs. Hamer's historical importance, etc. Hopefully, it will also intrigue readers, so that anyone who missed the show will clamor for a repeat performance!
Looking forward to working with you again, down the line. And of course I'll see to it that you receive a copy once it hits the stands.
Yours truly,
Matt  Pitt

From: "Biloxi Branch NAACP"
To: EP McKnight
Peolpe around here are still talking about how good it was and looking forward to seeing another play next year.
Biloxi Branch NAACP
James W. Crowell III, President

To: Eric @ Mary C. O"Keefe Center
I really enjoyed the play, I question America and have a suggestion. I think many others would have enjoyed it ,expecially high school students, - is there any way we can get her back next year? You could even charge admission.
Also, if possible , could you send me her email address.  I wanted to personally thank her but had to leave early and she had a crowd around her. Also,  my son lives in  Los angelos and I was wondering if she ever puts the play on there.
Thanks, susan carranza

Hello EP.
  I thoroughly enjoyed your show.  I have been spreading the news about your performance to my family and friends.  I have been telling them that I should have brought them with me.  It is my hope to try to get something scheduled for  next year (February, 2010) for the Magnolia Alumni Association.    Will be in touch.  Keep up the good work!!!
  Debra G. Goldsmith
Program Coordinator
Labor  Planning

                  Burbank Library 2009

RE: "I Question America - legacy of Mrs. Hamer"Monday, April 13, 2009 12:06 PM

“A compelling journey along the civil rights trail through one woman’s eyes. The choice of Fannie Lou Hamer as the vehicle for this trip is a fortunate one, showing vividly how one person’s engagement can create significant momentum. McKnight’s portrayal is nuanced and poignant.”
--Melissa Elliott
Senior Librarian—Young Adult Services
Burbank Public Library

              Ventura College 2008 & 2009

   I found E.P. McKnight's one woman performance portraying the life of Fannie Lou Hamer captivating, inspired, and informative.  Before I attended this show I had no idea who Fannie Lou Hamer was.  I may have heard the name but if I did that's all that it was to me; just a name. 
      Right from the very first words I was drawn in by McKnight's powerful and controlled voice.  All of her movements confident and obviously well rehearsed.  Fannie Lou Hamer is obviously an inspiration to McKnight.  The passion with which she plays Hamer is contagious.  McKnight's reenactment of the speeches filled me with the desire to make a change in the world and more importantly the idea that is entirely possible.

      As for the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, it is easy to see why one would be inspired by such an incredible story.  It has all the elements of a heroic tale of fiction; Courage in the face of a seemingly unconquerable foe; perseverance  through mentally and physically punishing defeats; then victory.  Only this is not a tale of fiction.  This is the one thing that sticks in my mind after the performance.  The struggles of all of these people fighting for the betterment of humankind are not fiction they are real.  This is the advantage of live performance over television or movies.  To see a person in the flesh on stage has a power that can't be conveyed by recordings.  This performance reinforced that it is not "IF" I can improve the world, but "HOW" am I going to improve the world.
                                                                                                Josh Smith
                                                                                                 Soc. Prob  #41

                                 NoHo Scene 2008

Hi EP - thanks for the note and thanks for all you have done and continue to do to put her wonderful, compelling story forward for us all to hear, see and learn from.  I know she is looking down and cheering you on as you take her message forth and champion her courage. I am inspired by the personal risks she took to serve others and to make life just and fair for all.. We have much to learn from the mistakes of the past.  She is such an inspiration.  Her story does need to be told and I am glad you are there to do the telling... congrats - it was a brilliant performance - you have captured her..  You painted such a detailed, vivid picture of life during those times.  I could see each separate character and the crowd of others who also put their lives on the line.  amazing...

I am truly glad we met as well.  Please let us know when and where you are performing so we can catch up again.

God Bless you,


                Bucks County Community College
Dear E P,

The accolades from those who have seen your work are wonderful and inspirational!  They feed the passion that you bring to your work and that passion is contagious!  Thank you for sharing it with the Bucks County community.

And I hope that our paths continue to cross!

It is always nice to make a new friend and to find mutual interests and values.

Safe trip back to LA.

All the best,


                        Adams State College

January 21, 2008


Dear Ms. McKnight,
Thank you for bringing Fannie Lou Hamer to life on stage this past Monday at the Adams State College theater.
I was deeply moved by the power of your performance, and drawn in further by the very interesting question and answer session that followed.  Fannie Lou's life is inspiring, but equally inspiring is your research and writing transformed into a one woman play.  
As for the power that theater has to move and transform I'd like to offer one experience:
I thank you, again, for the bring the power of Fanny Lou Hamer's life story to Alamosa on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Civil Rights/Human Rights have been important to me since my youth but after I experienced job discrimination the stories have become even more important and more powerful. 
Blessings on you as you continue to portray the life of Ms. Fanny Lou Hamer.
With My Gratitude,
Mary Elizabeth Van Pelt
Alamosa, CO

                     NoHo Arts And Theatre Festival

“I Question America—Legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer”

E.P. McKnight,


I've been thinking about you all day.  First of all, what a tremendous talent our Lord has blessed you with.  Tour de Force performance.   All the characters were so fully realized...the men in particular were amazing as it's usually hard for women to be able to pull that off believably. My friend Karen said when you were playing the Preacher it made her think of Danny Glover because it had such power.  Bravo! 


Second, this is a part of history that I have never heard before.  I was appalled and horrified at the atrocities that men are able to inflict on one another....and this within our lifetime... like the holocaust this is a story that needs to be passed onto future generations so that it never happens again...not that we are remotely out of the woods even now....hatred and racism of every kind are still sadly prevalent in our is the attempt to control the hanging chads, all kinds of people predominantly the poor and the elderly being harrassed at polls..It hurts my heart.  Thank you for having the courage to tell this story.


I pray to Jesus for an enlightenment of our world....but thank God we are Christians and will at least experience all God has for us after this troubled world.


Love you my friend.  Keep up the great work.

Bonnie Hellman


<>Dear EP,

I have always wanted to see your play and just knowing you were in my neck of the woods - NOTHING WOULD HAVE HELD ME BACK!

I thought you were wonderful and the "circumstance" and "environment" was not the easiest place to perform BUT YOU DID IT!  And frankly - I was very aware of so many of the audience who were as caught up in your performance as I and the two little girls...who were mesmerized!  They weren't sure of all that was going on but you had such a captive audience in the two of them!  I think they were fascinated by your energy, performance, change.  You were wonderful!

AND then after the show the Q&A was another example of how many people were caught up in your performance and I even heard a disappointed Hank I think say I thought it would be longer...what a compliment.

Thank you for a very special night!  This play is truly a vehicle for your wonderful energy and enormous talent.  God bless and thank you.
Jeanie Obadiah
Drama Coach/Teacher

<>Hey, EP. I was amazed at your performance, your writing, your delivery. I swear if I can find the right role for you, I'll cast you in SOMETHING. 

Congrats on a great performance, it really was electric!

Roberta Kenny,
Producer/Sewickley Creek Prods. North Hollywood

I am so glad I came to see your performance! It brought tears to my eyes. I am old enough to remember seeing her at the convention, fighting for the right to be seated as a delegate!

Keep up the good work!!!

Anna Weldon


Top of Form

Temecula Museum

"Catch The Spirit"


Hawkeye Community College
Popular Demand Return

Blackhawk Technical College
Popular Demand Return


         Tumecula Museum
      "With Grace I Stand"

Youngstown University
You are truly amazing!

Danetta Claybrook

        Penn State Harrisburg
      Your erformance  was amazing!
   Donna Howard  

        Penn State Harrisburg
  I really enjoyed your presentation    yesterday you  were fabulous!
   Eric Jackson

          Mary C. O"Keefe Center
              Faboulous Play!
               Vernon Mangum

         <>Ventura College
Thanks so much for your                   meaningful performance and your lovely book.   Lauri Moore  

Edinboro College
My eight year old son said, "dad is she talking to you" , I am amazed that the show kept his attention.

Ventura College
The students love the performance and the message.

Thomas College
 "..the next moring the students are yet discussing your performance"




NoHo Theatre & Arts Festival

                ..Hugely Talented!!!

Mary Marcus
Novel & Screenplay Writer

UC Davis
 "..moving and thought provoking, enlightening, educational& pleasurable"



Bucknell University


"definite eye opener, in depth more than any classroom, one student in awe stated, " The actress did an amazing job and I'm inspired to read more about Fannie Lou Hamer"




Sacremento State University


February 24, 2006

Nacole Smith:  She thought the play was excellent.  She said she liked the way the play transitioned into the different characters.


Latoya Morgan:  She thought the play was powerful and was presented from a womans perspective.  She also said you did an excellent job reliving the past and showing the struggles that black women and blacks in general have had to face and are still facing today.  She said the play expressed why we need to give respect and honor to our ancestors. 


Tisha Hill-Smith:  I thought E.P. McKnight's portrayal of Fannie Lou Hamer was excellent.  Her portrayal allowed for a stir of emotions and reflection that could not be brought about by just reading a book.  My children attended the play and were enthralled by Ms. McKnights ability to gracefully transition between characters.


I hope this will be helpful, Thank you again,


Tisha Hill-Smith :+)





"thank you so much for your stellar performance in the important one-woman show, I Question America. It was a special evening for all who were fortunate enough to be in attendance. Thanks for inspiring others to high standards of performance and creative work."
Michael Pawlicki








Blackhawk Technical College


February 18, 2005

“I Question America—Legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer”

“Fannie Lou Hamer” Life Story Shared with Beloit, WI Community

 by Wanda Sloan



Central College

White Privilege Conference



“Phenomenal…enjoyed having your spirit at the conference. Thanks for everything!!…"






NoHo Theatre & Arts Festival




" intense & mesmerizing  stage







Tarzana Medical Center




"...a pleasing, must-see

theater experience."







Rust College

Lyceum Series


Highly Favored


" talented acclaimed artist & compelling energy.."




I am pleased to have the opportunity to share a few thoughts of the portrayal of Fannie Lou Hamer’s Legacy as presented by Ms. E. P. McKnight in Beloit, WI. On February 18, 2005.


The Beloit Starlighters, Beloit League of Women Voters and NAACP Youth Council collaborated to bring this exciting One Woman Show to our community. Following are some of the quotes/comments from the audience:

"Marvelous presentation. I was bowled over!"  The evening event was well attended by the Community. Many Leaguers were in attendance and the League was mentioned by many of the Speakers. My hope was/is that people who may not be familiar with the League will remember the role we played in bringing a great performance to Beloit and how important it is to exercise their right to vote.

Students from the Black Student Union of Beloit College extended an invitation to Ms. McKnight to perform the next evening at the College and Ms. McKnight received rave reviews from that performance as well. The campus is located in Janesville, WI.


It is always inspirational to commemorate the lives of civil rights activists such as Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer, but  especially since her legacy is unknown to so many, it was a unique and historical experience.


 Ms. E.P. McKnight truly brings “Fannie Lou Hamer to life! Wonderfully done.




Columbia University


In the City Of New York

Institute For Research In African American Studies

April 30, 1998

“I Question America—Legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer”

by Susan Stuart



Central College

White Privilege Conference



“Phenomenal…enjoyed having your spirit at the conference. Thanks for everything!!…"






NoHo Theatre Arts Festival




" intense & mesmerizing  stage







Tarzana Medical Center




"...a pleasing, must-see

theater experience."






Rust College

Lyceum Series


Highly Favored


" talented acclaimed artist & compelling energy.."





It was a pleasure hosting a presentation of “I Question America: The Fannie Lou Hamer Legacy” as a part of Columbia University’s African American Heritage Month celebration. We found the performance to be very high energy and informative. It is always nice to present someone as knowledgeable and talented as her.


You are a truly dynamic speaker. Your presentation style was very effective because you gave the audience the historical perspective surroundings the life of Fannie Lou Hamer while connecting it to their experiences as people of color today.  The performance was both poignant and brilliantly arranged. Students, faculty, staff and our off-campus guests all commented on the high production values, the entertainment value and the value of the performance’s message.


“I Question America” was an outstanding performance. We believe that your messages had a positive impact for those who attended.  Many people were deeply affected by the production, as they should have been. Thank you for an excellent theatrical experience. 






The Galilee United Methodist Church
Englewood, New Jersey

“The Church Serving The Community”

March 26, 1997

“I Question America—Legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer”

by Rev. Edmund E. Martin, Minister


On behalf of the Galilee family and the local community, we thank her for an outstanding performance of “I Question America”. Your presentation was an educational and entertaining depiction of the life and legacy of Mrs. Fannie Lou  Hamer. It enabled most of us to obtain knowledge about this great African American woman, whose many contributions to the Civil Rights Movement often go unrecognized.


May she continue to share Ms. Hamer’s story with future audiences. It was certainly an enlightening experience and an evening well spent.




Fannie Lou Hamer High School
Bronx, New York

February 8, 2005

 “I Question America—Legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer”

by Lisa D. Clark



 Congratulations on an outstanding performance for the students and community here at Fannie Lou Hamer High School. Your portrayal of the life of Fannie Lou Hamer was magnificent, true to her character as we’ve learned from history.  Your subject matter was so relevant to the nature of our school and really reached many hearts. Certainly a significant number of students have expressed a desire for the arts that was not apparent before.


You are a true professional and have inspired us all. Thanks for a noteworthy return visit with “I Question America”. Good luck to her in all her future endeavors.






Eastside High School
Paterson, New Jersey

“HOME of the GHOSTS”

February 10, 2005

“I Question America—Legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer”

by Gilbert Benson


Many thanks for Ms. McKnight performance of “I Question America” for Eastside High School. The play was very good and historically sound. The students of Eastside High enjoyed and appreciated the play.  This play should be performed for as many students as possible for a learning experience.


Kudos, for her return visit from 1996, the play is   richer than ever with the additions to her performance which has enhanced the play leaps and bounds in communicating Ms. Hamer’s Legacy.




Montclair State University
Montclair, New Jersey

Legal Studies Program

February 8, 2005

 “I Question America—Legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer”

by Khalidah McMorrin




Stupendous Performance!


The production of “I Question America” the story of Fannie Lou Hamer performed at Montclair State University for the Organization of African Studies for Unity was both educational and entertaining.  The interactive style of the one woman show allowed the audience to experience Ms. Hamer in an emotional as well as intellectual venue.  Students expressed that they met ms. Hamer personally and felt the pain and joy she experienced on her road to politically awareness.


As an administrator and a professor at Montclair State and as President of OSAU, we thank her for her commitment to sharing her knowledge through this mechanism.  I hope she is able share this experience with other college audiences.  This information would be well received in the public school arena as well.  Knowledge is power, and her performance is a powerful tool for delivering this message.


I wish you well in your future endeavors and hope to see you on stage again, alike your second visit here with us from 1996.






John F. Kennedy High School
Paterson, New Jersey

March 5, 1997

“I Question America—Legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer”

by Richard Garibell



The staff and administration of John F. Kennedy High School were honored with Ms. McKnight artistic presentation of “I Question   America”.  Her portrayal of Fannie Lou Hamer was most convincing.  The knowledge gained by our students was shared by all in attendance.  Her performance provided an avenue for both teaching and entertaining.


As our African American Heritage events culminate, the John F. Kennedy High School family   extend our best wishes to   Ms. McKnight in her efforts to continue to teach the legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer and continue to apprise our students of careers in the Dramatic Arts.


We look forward to her visiting our campus again!





William Paterson College
Wayne, New Jersey

Women’s Center

April 4, 1997

“I Question America—Legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer”

By Meryle  Mahrer Kaplan



On behalf of all the planning groups that brought “I Question America” to William Paterson College, I want to thank you for your strong, wise, and absolutely exquisite performance.


We take the idea of presenting a bridge event between African Heritage and Women’s History Month very seriously.  Your performance honoring Fannie Lou Hamer was perfect for this purpose.  You have developed   a beautiful presentation that documents Mrs. Hamer’s incredible growth and impact, explores the civil rights movement, and raises important and ongoing human rights issues.  All of us in the audience learned a great deal. In addition, your performance is so very strong.  Your staging, props, and   music are perfectly suited to the intimacy and scope of your presentation.  We were all in awe of the theater and history you presented and of your personal commitment.  The time you spent at the end of the performance stepping out of character and engaging with the audience was equally wonderful and a terrific closing to the event.  The combination of your wisdom and commitment plus the inspiration of Mrs. Hamer’s  life is extremely powerful.  While our students usually need to run out to other classes, nobody wanted this event to end!


The evaluations written after the program were uniformly superb.  You got – and deserved – rave reviews.  All of us would highly recommend your performance to other groups.  You came into our plain, large rectangular space and with your talent, beautifully written script, and theatrical know-how created a world.  You opened the eyes of all in attendance.  You connected with each of us and   added to our efforts to build a diverse and caring community at William Paterson.


You have earned the love and respect of all of us in Phosphorus, the Multicultural Network, the African Heritage Month Planning Group and the Women’s History Month Planning Group.  We can’t wait to bring you back to campus.    





Ramapo College
Mahwah, New Jersey

July 8, 1996

“I Question America—Legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer”

by Barbara Harrison


We want to congratulate her on and to advise of how much   her performance was appreciated here.  Her skills as an author and actress are most impressive.


I was fortunate enough to attend two of your performances and I was surprised to see the refinements you had made within a few short months.  I had not realized that you looked upon “I Question America: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Legacy” as a work in progress.  Your research into the life of Fannie Lou Hamer has evidently been extensive and thorough.  After seeing your performance, one comes away feeling as though she has come to know a remarkable, courageous, completely honest warrior in the terrible battles of the Civil Rights Movement.


I am grateful that you have chosen to put so much energy into insuring that Ms. Hamer will not be forgotten as the amazing individual she was but also as a very important part of the Movement’s leadership.  Too few women have been remembered for their vital contributions to its success.


Thank you for the work you do in trying to make the world a better place.  I sincerely hope that many other schools and colleges have the opportunity to present your talented production and give their students the pleasure of learning from you.


All good wishes for your continued success.    



Harlem School Of the Arts
New York, New York

Of New Jersey, Bergen County

“I Question America—Legacy of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer”

September 29, 1995

by Jim Beckerman



Fannie Lou Hamer is a one-woman show.  She was brash and brazen, outrageous and courageous.  She fought her way out of Mississippi sharecropper’s shack to become one of the Sixties’ most outspoken black voices.  She gave the Civil Rights movement one of its finest moments in 1964, when she challenged the all-white Mississippi “Dixiecrat” delegates at the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, demanding representation for the state’s black population with a memorable call to arms: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”


If actress E.P. McKnight knows where Hamer is coming from, it’s because she’s been there herself.  Activist and actress are Mississippi natives whose careers took them to New Jersey.  But that commonality is not what prompted McKnight to write her one-woman show, “I Question America: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Legacy,” which she’ll perform Saturday at the Harlem School of the Arts Theatre in Manhattan.  “She was driven by an  energy similar to myself to help anyone that was in need, to try to make the world a better place,” say McKnight, who lives in Paterson.


A veteran performer – she’s done the soaps “Another World,” “One Life to Live,” “Search for Tomorrow” and other TV shows, and numerous stage productions in New Jersey and New York – McKnight says she wrote the play to kindle new interest in a neglected figure. “I don’t really think she got her just due,” McKnight says.  “I feel that kids today need to know their history, know who they are.”


In the 18 month process of writing the play, McKnight visited libraries in New Jersey and New York, and at one point went to Ruleville, Miss., in the state’s northern delta area, to see Hamer’s  home town.  “Going to her hometown gave me more sympathy and respect,” says McKnight, originally from Moss Point, on the other side of the state.  “She lived among people being raped and hung and murdered on an everyday basis.  It was part of her life, like eating.”  Hamer, the granddaughter of a slave, and one of 20 children, left the cotton fields in 1962 to follow the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee as it traveled through the South,  risking  lives to register black to vote.  “She was a warrior,” McKnight says.  “She stood up and said, “I have to tell the truth no matter what.  And she was beaten like an animal.”  That and more is recalled in McKnight’s two act play, directed by Larney Rutledge, in which Hamer reminisces about her life at ages 10, 27, 44, and 59, when she died, in 1977, of cancer.  Hamer’s activist career didn't end with her appearance at Atlantic City.  She went on to serve with the Democratic National Committee, to run for the Mississippi state senate, and to manage a communal 680 acre “Freedom Farm” in her hometown, where poor folk could grow and harvest their own vegetables.  But it was the blunt honesty of this uneducated country woman, telling the truth in the face of threats and beatings, that may be her greatest legacy, McKnight believes.  “She was able to come to the (Democratic) convention and alert the world about things that happened in the South,” McKnight says.  “She told it with such conviction that anyone who heard it was moved by it.”