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Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar and John Smith Junior

Warnock, Ossoff win Georgia. senate runoff from watchnight 1862 to January 2021 celebration time again, 159 years later

On a cold New Year's eve night of December 31, 1862, our slave ancestors by the thousands gathered in churches and homes across the country to await definitive word on whether sitting President Abraham Lincoln had signed the long rumored Emancipation Proclamation freeing "us".

One hundred and fifty-nine years later, we writers of this script are willing to wager our life savings that a goodly share of the 42 million Americans of African descent (13%) , men, women and, yes, children (this was a learning event) ,kept a late (watch)night vigil to see if Georgia, a former member of the Confedeerate States of America) CSA (the state succeeded 160 years ago on March 23, 1861) would send Atlanta minister-pastor Rapheal Warnock (Morehouse) and Jewish journalist Thomas Jonathan (Jon) Ossoff to the United States Senate. At or around 4pm, January 6, CNN projected Ossoff the winner. David Perdue later conceded. The Democrats now control the US Senate!warnock and ossof Ossoff and Warnock

This pandemic prevented the usual gatherings to watch the votes come in but you can imagine Warnock and Ossoff's ears burned hotter than a fireman's hat when viewers, readers and listeners across the country screamed, hollered and hooted as the results rolled in. As John and I chatted over the phone about what to say in this space, we both imagined what was going on..... in heaven. I suggested that the streets (if there are streets) were flooded with water but hardly from a torrential rain. They were , in lieu, tears of joy from the eyes of our former leaders who were watching the results of January 5 and 6.

Dig this history:
*Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. (Morehouse) probably cried harder than he did in 1965 when former prez Lyndon Baines Johnson addressed Congress on the need for a voting bill, saying,…. "their cause must be our cause too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice......And we shall overcome."

Dr King cried on January 5.
*Dr. C.T. Vivian (American Baptist College) took a baton to the mouth in 1965 from bigoted Sheriff Jim Clark of Marion County, Alabama while attempting to register voters at the county courthouse. "You can turn your back on me, but you can't turn your back on justice."

CT cried on January 5.
*Hosea Williams (Morris Brown College) , along with John Lewis ( Fisk) , led 600 across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama enroute to Montgomery Alabama March 7, 1965. The purpose. Voting rights.

They never got there.
"This march will not continue, "barked Alabama State Trooper commander John Cloud that overcast Sunday. " I thought we would just be arrested and taken to jail," Lewis remembers. "But when I saw the troopers putting on gas masks, I knew we were about to be beaten," said Lewis. The so-called “boy from Troy” became a member of Congress and devoted the rest of his life to fighting for voting rights. " In a democracy, the right to vote is the most important tool we have.”voting righrs medger eversEvers

Both cried January 5.
*James Chaney, Andrew Goodwin and Michael Schwerner were found murdered on June 21, 1964 just outside Philadelphia Mississippi. They were in the state as a part of a "Freedom Summer" effort to register more blacks to vote. Senator James Eastland told President LBJ he thought the claim was " a publicity stunt." Hardly.

James, Andrew and Michael cried January 5
You can bet that tears over the results of January 5 were also shed by others , many of them nameless, but who-too fought hard and died harder for voting rights. Many sacrificed themselves along the way.

Not all were black.
*In 1964, a former Vietnam veteran, Jimmy Lee Jackson, took a slug to the stomach meant for his grandad Cager in a night march for voting rights in Marion Alabama lvoting rights stacey abramsAbramsed by Rev James Orange (Bishop College). Jackson's death created the impetus for the Selma to Montgomery march which influenced passage of the 1965 voting rights bill ..

*In early 1965, a white unitarian minister, James Reeb, was beaten to death by white toughs in Selma , Alabama. Reeb had come to Selma at the invitation of Dr. King to march with them for voting rights. Three men were arrested but acquitted by an all-white jury. His murder was never solved.......voting rights james reebReeb

*Likewise, Viola Liuozzo , a white Detroit housewife, had heeded King's invite to join their protest efforts in Selma. She was shot and killed while driving participants in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights to the city's airport....voting rights.viola liuzzoLiuzzo.
.
*Mississippi field secretary Medger Evers (Alcorn) was assassinated outside his home in Jackson June 12, 1963. Thirty-one years later, Byron de la Beckwith was re-arrested thanks to an investigation by local and national authorities and convicted of Evers' murder. He was sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 2001..........

FAST FORWARD-Stacey Abrams(Spelman), a former Georgia legislator and candidate for governor in 2018, didn't hang up her political hat after her defeat at the hands of present Republican Governor Brian Kemp In lieu , the Wisconsin native created the group Fair Fight-action. Her “sheroic” effort is credited with helping Democratic Presidential contender Joe Biden win the state of Georgia, a onetime Republican stronghold, to become the 46th President of the United States. This is what she tweeted Wednesday, January 6th. "With new votes joining the tally, we are on a strong path. But even while we wait for more, let’s celebrate the extraordinary organizers, volunteers, canvassers & tireless groups that haven’t stopped going since Nov. Across our state, we roared. A few miles to go...but well done!"
The crying continues.

 

John Smith Junior became editor-publisher of the Atlanta Inquirer following the death of his father, John Senior, a former President of the NNPA.

 

Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net

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