epic victory of Doug
in the Alabama Senate race is proof once again that Black voters are
the Democratic Party’s most reliable, enthusiastic and loyal
his upset win, Jones owes Black Alabama big-time, in a state steeped
in civil rights history, yet one in dire need of racial justice and
and enthusiastic, the base of the Democratic Party in Alabama
demonstrated what can happen when voters of color unite with
millennials, women and woke white folks to decide that a dirty old
man who had staked out his claim to the legacy of white supremacy
will not have a seat in the U.S. Senate–this time.
turnout was high, with Black voters exceeding their numbers in the
and clocking in at 29
of voters, Just like the 2012 and 2008 elections when President
was on the ballot. And 98 percent of African Americans cast their
ballot for Jones, in line with their 95 percent support for Obama in
marketed himself to Black folks based on his role as a federal
prosecutor who came for two Klansmen responsible for the bombing of
Street Baptist Church
in Birmingham, also known as Bombingham.
That 1963 domestic terror attack left four little Black girls dead.
The tragic event was a flashpoint in the civil rights movement and
helped usher in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
holds a special place in the history of the civil rights movement.
This is where the Montgomery Bus Boycott took place, the march from
Selma to Montgomery and the police and Klan assault on peaceful
protesters known as “Bloody Sunday.” Civil rights worker
gunned down like a dog by the Klan on her way from Montgomery to
Selma in 1965. Martin
From Birmingham Jail,”
in which he articulated nonviolent civil disobedience, spoke of the
moral duty to break unjust laws, and the moderate white clergy who
insisted that he slow things down.
gave birth to George
who as governor was a stalwart guardian of white supremacy and
the Birmingham police commissioner who used fire hoses and police
dogs on Black children, and Jim
the sheriff in Selma known for violent confrontations with civil
a lot of history in Alabama, with heroes and villains playing their
respective roles. This recent special election is proof that there is
a battle between the old
South and the new South,
the Alabama of slavery and Jim Cow segregation against the Alabama of
the twenty-first century.
one of them can win.
who while stumping for Jones told Alabama to “stop looking like
idiots to the nation,” reflected positively on the Jones win,
but with a warning. “I’m so proud of my state. I love my
state. We got some amazing people here. Yeah, we got a bunch of
rednecks and a bunch of ignorant people, but we got some amazing
people here and they rose up today,” Barkley said on CNN.
also took Democrats to task for taking Black voters for granted “for
a long time,” adding, “it’s time for them to get
off their ass and start making life better for Black folks and people
who are poor.”
is opening a lynching memorial and a museum exploring
African-American history from enslavement to mass incarceration in
Montgomery next year, a reflection of past demons and the evils of
excessive punishment and police violence that simply won’t go
has the highest
incarceration rate in America
and the fifth highest in the world. It is no surprise that whites are
underrepresented in Alabama prisons, and Black people are over
represented and make up the majority of those incarcerated.
although the historic civil rights legislation was enacted over fifty
years ago–due in no small measure to the martyrs who shed blood
for racial justice and equal rights in Alabama–the voting
rights of Black Alabamans are still under assault.
state enacted a strict voter
designed to depress
among “’aborigines’ and ‘illiterates’
who would ride ‘H.U.D.-financed buses ‘ to the polls”
and had closed 31 DMV locations, mostly in Black communities, to make
it harder for them to obtain the necessary government-issued
the Doug Jones win, voter
still took place on Election Day, with long lines, sometimes as much
as a two-hour wait, and some eligible voters erroneously turned away
from the polls.
is taking a leadership role in voter suppression of Black folks. John
Alabama’s secretary of state who was a co-sponsor of the
Alabama voter-ID law and defended the DMV closings, has tried to
restrict voting rights. He has not promoted early voting, and has
failed to inform ex-felons of their right to vote.
you’re too sorry or lazy to get up off of your rear and to go
register to vote, or to register electronically, and then to go vote,
then you don’t deserve that privilege,” Merrill said,
showing anger toward those who “think they deserve the right
because they’ve turned 18.”
long as I’m secretary of state of Alabama, you’re going
to have to show some initiative to become a registered voter in this
state,” Merrill pledged.
has ensured that Alabama has six
white Republican members of Congress
in bright red districts, and only one Black Democrat, and a
in the state legislature.
is the redneck foolishness still going on in Alabama. And this is why
Doug Jones was elected.
pundits have urged the newly-minted senator to go the
moderate-to-conservative route, and play nice with Trump and the
Republicans if he wants to get reelected. But that is a tactic in the
old failed Democratic Party playbook of ignoring the base, especially
voters of color, for the purposes of chasing after the elusive white
of the 2016 election
cited Dems for its self-inflicted wounds, of not addressing the needs
of voters of color, turning off Black women, and not standing up
against institutionalized racism and economic injustice because
“they’re afraid to alienate big funders or to harm future
job or consulting prospects.”
mentality gave Trump an opening in 2016 with his fake economic
November election results across the country, and the diversity of
candidates who won, is a testament to what can happen when inspiring
candidates run with a bold, progressive agenda and grassroots
organizing, rather than run as GOP-lite. This is why Doug Jones won
in Alabama, as he was a part of this new wave.
Doug Jones victory was not supposed to happen in the reddest of red
states, and yet here we are. Black voters brought him to this place,
and he can’t forget how he got here.