Black voters face many hurdles

News

Black voters face many hurdles

Friday, October 23, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!


MISSISSIPPI, United States (AP) — The old civil rights worker was sure the struggle would be over by now.

He'd fought so hard back in the '60s. He'd seen the wreckage of burned churches, and the injuries of people who had been beaten. He'd seen men in white hoods. At its worst, he'd mourned three young men who were fighting for black Mississippians to gain the right to vote, and who were kidnapped and executed on a country road just north of here.

But Charles Johnson, sitting inside the neat brick church in Meridian where he's been pastor for over 60 years, worries that Mississippi is drifting into its past.

“I would never have thought we'd be where we're at now, with blacks still fighting for the vote,” said Johnson, 83, who was close to two of the murdered men, especially the New Yorker everyone called “Mickey”. “I would have never believed it.”

The opposition to black voters in Mississippi has changed since the 1960s, but it hasn't ended. There are no poll taxes anymore, no tests on the state constitution. But on the eve of the most divisive presidential election in decades, voters face obstacles such as state-mandated ID laws that mostly affect poor and minority communities and the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of former prisoners.

By at least one measure, it's harder to vote in Mississippi than any other state. And despite Mississippi having the largest percentage of black people of any state in the nation, a black person hasn't been elected to statewide office in 130 years. After years of being shut out of state races, Democrats hope mobilising black voters and recruiting black candidates can eventually give them a path back to relevance in one of the reddest of red states.

But sometimes, it can seem that voting rights in Mississippi are like its small towns and dirt roads, which can appear frozen in the past.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaper-login


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT