AFTER RETURNING HOME FROM WORLD WAR II, VETERAN AND LATER CIVIL RIGHTS MARTYR MEDGAR EVERS DECIDED TO VOTE IN A MISSISSIPPI ELECTION. But when he and some other Black ex-servicemen attempted to vote, a white mob stopped them. "All we wanted to be was ordinary citizens," Evers later related. "We fought during the war for America, Mississippi included. Now, after the Germans and Japanese hadn't killed us, it looked as though the white Mississippians would. . . ." How prophetic were Medgar’s words.
“I’m here today because of the men and because of the women who were lynched, who were humiliated, who were discriminated against, who were suppressed, who were repressed and oppressed for the right, for the equality at the polls, and I want you to know that their blood seeped into my DNA and I refuse to let their sacrifices be in vain.” And with those earnest and heartfelt words, Oprah Winfrey began campaigning for Stacey Abrams as Governor of Georgia.
The most basic right of a citizen in a democracy is the right to vote. Without this right, people can be easily ignored and even abused by their government.
After the Civil War, Congress acted to prevent Southerners from re-establishing White supremacy. In 1867, Congress imposed federal military rule over most of the South. Under U.S. Army occupation, the former Confederate states wrote new constitutions and were readmitted to the Union, but only after ratifying the 14th Amendment. This Reconstruction amendment prohibited states from denying "the equal protection of the laws" to U.S. citizens, which included the former slaves. Yet it happens today as we can read and see.
Throughout American History, the story is never told about how Blacks were beaten and maimed and killed for trying to vote. It was important then, it is even more important now. White America NEVER wanted Blacks to vote and correspondingly---as we can plainly see---did everything to keep Blacks from voting. As Oprah said, “For anybody here who has an ancestor who didn’t have the right to vote, and we ALL had, and you are choosing not to vote… you are dishonoring your family.”
The Struggle Continues!
Rodney. L. Hurst, Sr.