UF professor awarded Fannie Lou Hamer Outstanding Community Service award

A female faculty member sitting behind a desk.

Sharon Austin, Ph.D.

UF professor of political science Sharon Austin, Ph.D., was recently awarded the Fannie Lou Hamer Outstanding Community Service Award at the National Conference of Black Political Scientists meeting.

This award is named in honor of the civil rights activist, Fannie Lou Hamer, who was the soul of the movement for racial justice in Mississippi. Hamer was a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee field secretary and a major pillar of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. 

“This is, by far, the greatest honor of my life,” said Austin. “My parents were born in the Mississippi Delta and worked as sharecroppers during the era of segregation.”

The award is given to a member of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, who has made exemplary contributions to the growth and development of the African American community in the United States.

Austin’s research focuses on African American women’s political behavior, African American mayoral elections, rural African American political activism and African American political behavior. She has authored several books and has also published multiple scholarly articles. 

“I have an incredible amount of admiration for Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer and the battles she fought on behalf of voting rights, civil rights, and to empower poor people,” said Austin. 

Brittany Sylvestri March 30, 2023