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MAKE IT COUNT - We earned it!

A voice and a vote

are terrible things to waste.

We can have our say

in our city, country,

and states.

Decades of visible

and invisible shackles.

Slick word tricks to undermine laws.

One of the dumbest was

the infamous “Grandfather Clause.” *

Poll Tax, Literacy Tests,

Fraud, and Pressure.

Lynchings, Beatings,

Killings, and Persecution.

Each blocked the path

to equal representation.

What a dreadful mess.

Seeking access to the poll

took its toll

on a people tired and sick

of fighting for a chance

to be listed on the voting roll.

Protests, marches, and unjust arrests.

Cries of frustration.

Over time many died.

MLK escorted thousands in Alabama (1965).

Still, at first, people faced defeat.

The right to vote oftentimes denied.

With hard-fought resolve,

folks did not turn around or digress.

Yes, there were steep costs,

however, Congress halted race and


as a basis for denying participation.

This battle was not lost.

Civil Rights became guaranteed

under the new legislation.

The Voting Rights Act

outlawed our status as victims

of overt discrimination.

How many generations profited

from the fruits of slave labor?

We earned a right to a piece

of the American pie.

The cry, “ride or die” flies

in the face of today’s

partisan paradox.

There’s a vague disdain

for dropping a vote.

Some choose to not stop

at a voting hall asking,

“Who truly supports our blocks?”

1964: America ended the Poll Tax.

1965: Only 23% of us voted nationwide.

What was the problem?

Were the votes not counted?

Were things rigged?

Who was really on our side?

1969: A marked improvement.

61% left home to cast a ballot.

The stakes ran high.

A voice and a vote mattered.

Results of the 2020 election

have yet to come.

Will we all pull up

to the voting machine?

These are high-stakes contests

during a time of poverty, unrest,

and societal extremes.

A voice and a vote

are terrible things to waste.

We must have our say

in our city, country, and states.

We can determine our future

with our minds, hands, feet, and faith.

©All rights reserved.

*Grandfather clause, statutory or constitutional device enacted by seven Southern states between 1895 and 1910 to deny suffrage to African Americans. It provided that those who had enjoyed the right to vote prior to 1866 or 1867, and their lineal descendants, would be exempt from recently enacted educational, property, or tax requirements for voting…Those clauses worked effectively to exclude Black people from the vote but assured the franchise too many impoverished and illiterate whites.

The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century. Through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise African Americans. It would take the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote.” Library of Congress

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