I’ve resisted the urge to write this commentary for weeks. However, after the performance of the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, and his enablers on March 25, I cannot remain silent.
I remember the Jim Crow era and the many obstacles my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles had to overcome in order to be qualified voters in North Louisiana. I specifically remember the late evenings, before the voting day, when the adults mentioned above would gather in our small living room and dining room area in our house.
It was always late enough for all of the children to have been sent to bed. They thought we were all asleep, but I would lay very still, wide awake and listen intently to the conversations.
The conversation centered on everyone present having access to a copy of the “Preamble to the Constitution of the United States” and a $2 poll tax fee. I was too young to understand everything that I heard, but I understood my mother, the organizer and most agitated member in the house, when she said, “These folk who destroyed our families, brought us to this country in bondage, against our will” (except her father, who was multi-racial and chose to live Black because he hated his “whiteness”).
My mother would continue with expectations for the morning. She knew that the white man who would listen to the group recite the Preamble to the Constitution couldn’t read at all; he was just white and pretended to read.
My mother never understood why white people made it so difficult for African Americans to gain an education. She was an avid reader with only an eighth-grade education; my father was a high school graduate and a veteran of World War II. He was a great mathematician.
As a result, all we ever knew about our futures was that we were going to college after high school and we had a duty to vote in every election. Too many African Americans suffered, bled and died for the right. The most recent who suffered and almost died for the right was the Honorable John Lewis.
Sorry, racist people, we will not sit back, lay back or take a back seat and allow you to take our right to vote from us. We don’t care how many Jim Crow laws you invoke regarding poll closure time, required identifications, drop boxes depletions, mile-long lines, no water or food, we will vote. Texas, you’re in for a rude awakening if stopping African Americans from voting is your mission.
You sideline Texans who smile, wink and blink at us, should watch your rights also. Do you know that your granny may be thirsty, too? Or maybe her line will not be long.
White women, do you know that African American women marched with you during the suffrage movement? You are not privileged in a racist and chauvinistic society, either. You and your children also received a stimulus check; however, to date, I have not.