• Wed. Dec 2nd, 2020

Monday Night Owls: Building on a history of resistance, Black women lead the way in this election

ByAdiantku

Nov 3, 2020

Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week

At The Nation, Keisha N. Blain writes—This Election, Black Women Are Leading the Way—Again. With voting rights under attack, activists like Stacey Abrams and LaTosha Brown are continuing the struggle that leaders like Fannie Lou Hamer helped ignite:

Black women are one of the most powerful voting blocs in the nation. Although they occupy a marginalized position in American society—shouldering multiple and intersecting forms of oppression, including racism, sexism, and classism—Black women have always used whatever was at their disposal to shape American politics. As the essential, if unsung, backbone of the Democratic Party, Black women have effectively harnessed the power of the vote to advance their political interest—while actively working to strengthen the party’s platform. Now, with voter suppression tactics on the rise, Black women are leading the charge to preserve the integrity of the electoral process.

The Democratic Party’s nomination of Kamala Harris for vice president has fueled many Black women’s passion for voting this year. Far beyond symbolism, Harris’s platform aligns with the concerns of many Black women. As a recent Essence poll of Black women voters reveals, most are concerned with addressing several interrelated societal issues: systemic racism, voter suppression, police violence, and poor access to health care. Black women’s overwhelming support for the Biden-Harris ticket—an estimated 90 percent—is therefore deeply connected to these critical issues. No doubt these women will make their way to the ballot box this year, many inspired by Harris’s nomination, to ensure that their voices are heard.

While Harris’s nomination is historic and meaningful, Black women’s overwhelming interest and commitment to casting a ballot is not a new feature in American politics. In 2008 and ’12, Black women voted at the highest rate of any race and gender subgroup.  […]

The passage in 1920 of the 19th Amendment, which granted voting rights to all women in theory but only white women in practice, had little effect on Black women’s lives. Through an array of legal and extralegal strategies, white Americans worked to keep Black people from practicing the constitutional right to vote.

Black women passionately resisted these efforts. During the 1960s, for example, civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer led a nationwide movement to expand the voting rights of Black Americans. It was a bold act of defiance—and a matter of life and death. As Hamer explained in a 1964 interview with The Nation, “We’re tired of all this beatin,’ we’re tired of takin’ this. It’s been a hundred years and we’re still being beaten and shot at, crosses are still being burned, because we want to vote.” Fully aware of the consequences of her actions, Hamer refused to capitulate. “I’m goin’ to stay in Mississippi,” she added, “and if they shoot me down, I’ll be buried here.” […]

(You can learn more about Fannie Lou Hamer from this excerpt of Drawing the Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Voting in America, a graphic novel on the history of voting rights, by author Tommy Jenkins and illustrator Kati Lacker.)

THREE OTHER ARTICLES WORTH READING

TOP COMMENTS

QUOTATION

“The vote is the emblem of your equality, women of America, the guarantee of your liberty. That vote of yours has cost millions of dollars and the lives of thousands of women. Money to carry on this work has been given usually as a sacrifice, and thousands of women have gone without things they wanted and could have had in order that they might help get the vote for you. Women have suffered agony of soul which you can never comprehend, that you and your daughters might inherit political freedom. That vote has been costly. Prize it! The vote is a power, a weapon of offense and defense, a prayer. Understand what it means and what it can do for your country. Use it intelligently, conscientiously, prayerfully.” ~~Carrie Chapman Catt

TWEET OF THE DAY

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— jimmyofflagstaf (@jimmyofflagstaf) November 2, 2020

BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2018—If Democrats succeed on Election Day, women will be one big reason:

There has been a lot of reporting on the phenomenon of white college-educated women moving away from Republicans and, in some cases, running toward Democrats due to how repulsed they are by Donald Trump. Some of this has been anecdotal, but the polling on women is telling. In a Washington Post/ABC news poll, Trump enjoys 48 percent support among men compared to just 33 percent support among women. And check out the trend lines from the same poll on female party identification over the last eight years, which is moving increasingly toward Democrats and away from the GOP. […]

Democratic gains among women start around the end of 2014, when just over 50 percent of female voters identified as Democrats, and get a nice little bump when Trump becomes pr*sident, reaching 58 percent now. And in the eight-year period between 2010 and 2018, Republicans lost fully 7 points among women who identify with the party.

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