- Faith & Family
President Obama made history; he was the first Black man elected President of the United States of America. It
was a history that my father and many in his generation did not believe they would ever see happen. You see my father grew up in the days of segregation, when Black people sat in the back of the bus, when you had separate bathrooms for white and Black, separate water fountains, and the races did not eat in the same restaurants. For him, it is amazing to see Black people in starring roles on the television, because when he grew up the only Blacks on television were steppin’ and fetchin’.
With the advent of a Black President, a latent racism is sweeping the country. Republican governors in step with Republican Legislatorss in twelve swing states, including Florida, have changed the voting laws to suppress the Black, young and other minority voters.
It appears that history is repeating itself. After the Civil War, the former freed slaves were able to vote, and amazingly we had Black congressmen, state representatives, and a burgeoning middle class made up of Black merchants and craftsmen. In response to this growing power of Blacks during reconstruction, a series of laws were passed stripping Blacks of the right to vote. Segregation laws were instituted and for close to 100 years; we were second class citizens. In the late 50’s, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights activists began to fight to end segregation and they fought to get us the vote. As a consequence civil rights laws were passed ending segregation, and the Voting Rights Act was passed. Through these laws, Blacks were able to integrate white neighborhoods, attend white schools, sit anywhere they wanted to in a restaurant. Gradually, we saw the integration of sports, boardrooms and every segment of society.
With the advent of a Black President, a latent racism is sweeping the country. Republican governors in step with Republican Legislatorss in twelve swing states, including Florida, have changed the voting laws to suppress the Black, young and other minority voters. Without any evidence of fraud, they have used “alleged election fraud” to justify reducing the number of days of early voting. Why? Because Black, young and minority voters supported President Obama, and they came out in droves during early voting. The Republicans cut Sunday voting the weekend before Election Tuesday. Why? Because traditionally Black voters would go to church and head to the polls in “Souls to the Polls.” Blacks enjoy more freedom, politically and economically, at this moment than we have ever enjoyed in this country. If we let the Republicans suppress our vote, and do not turn up at the polls, then we will lose our Black president, Senator Nelson, and several good congresspersons. Once the Republicans gain the White House, and control both the Senate and the Congress, then current voter suppression laws will go nationwide, and we will see history repeating itself as we lose right after right. If you care about yourself, about your community, about your children, then register to vote, and more importantly vote. Do not go meekly into the gas chamber — exercise your rights and fight back.
By Reginald J. Clyne, Esq.
Miami Times columnist