Lately, when making my morning coffee and watching the daily news, Marvin Gaye’s song, “Make me want to holler” plays resoundly in my head. Police violence, covid virus, killer bees, SARS outbreaks, George Floyd’s death and the fact that they have not yet arrested Breonna Taylor’s killers (say her name), pronounces such a frustration in my soul. I WANT TO DO SOMETHING! But I’m not really sure what that something is. Because, I have been feeling as though my liberties are being questioned, I’ll start there. This week’s post is not for children but grown folks, like myself, who are trying to figure out WHAT TO DO. Give Us the Ballot by Ari Berman, addresses the issues of voting rights in the United States. To be honest, after reading this book, I felt disappointed in myself. When you truly understand the violence, assisatations, brutality, and murders that had to happen in order for a person to simply check a name on a ticket, you either begin to understand and revere the privilege you have to be able to vote; or, you begin to understand how entitled and self absorbed you have become. I am disappointed because in regards to voting, I am entitled and self absorbed. Moving forward, voting will be an issue that I won’t ever take lightly.
This book explains the history of voter rights in the United States. It explains the importance of Selma, Alabama and Bloody Sunday. It discusses what led to voter suppression; beginning with the Reconstruction Era. Additionally it details who were the good, the bad, and in between actors that lead us to the place that we are, in our democracy.
The liberties of Africans-Americans has been much like a bamboozlement, This book brings awareness to the levels of manipulation, and deceit that have taken place in American democracy. Literacy Test, good character tests, and poll taxes were just a view of the methods of oppression that were used to suppress the Black vote. The book clearly describes the actors who played in the struggle. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s plays a unique role. Berman explains how a once vice president who had voted against every civil rights bill from, 1937-1960, as president, has a change of heart. It shows the endurance of people like Martin Luther King and John Lewis, a man who had been jailed 40 times by the time he was 25. It also discusses the brutality in these protests. The story of Jimmie Lee Jackson a man who saw Alabama state troopers beat his mother to the ground and when he lunged to protect her, statetroopers shot him. The book also discusses the history of Selma,its period of Reconstruction when 13 African American legislators held office and the evil that destroyed this wave of Black leadership.
Be responsible when reading this book. Share what you have read with those who do not understand how expensive it is to vote. African Americans must be clear about their struggle for common liberty in this country. My goal is to be a savvy voter on election day; I want to have all the information that I need in order to make a just decision for the future.I want to be knowledgeable of every candidate. My hope is that there are many more like me who will work to do the same.