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The Vote (Vol. 30, No. 1) cover: Tomashi Jackson

The Vote

Vol 30, No 1  //  spring 2024

“[The South] fought, bled, and died in the fiercest battles that won us full access to the ballot,” writes Errin Haines, guest editor of our special issue, The Vote. “For me, to be a southerner is to be a voter, and to be a voter is to champion the rights of all Americans.” In the spring 2024 issue, we look at the vote–from the groundbreaking Voting Rights Act of 1965 to portraits of contemporary poll workers in North Carolina, from the battles we’ve won to those still being waged.

Table of Contents

Meeting the Moment for Democracy

by Errin Haines
Three days after I turned eighteen, my mom, who was born in Jim Crow Florida, took me to register to vote at the same precinct where I grew up watching her vote. The experience taught me at an early age that voting was my birthright, something adults—and Black women in particular—did as good citizens. I »

The Voting Rights Act beyond the Headlines

by Emilye Crosby, Judy Richardson
“It is tempting to think of universal voting rights as one of the fundamental pillars of our country, but access to the vote has been hard fought and remains under attack.” The Voting Rights Act (VRA), which was signed into law on August 6, 1965, was a significant victory for the Civil Rights Movement, southern »

“Blocks for Freedom”

Sewing for Voting in Post-Jim Crow Mississippi

by William Sturkey
“‘Blocks for Freedom’ helped dozens of poor Black Mississippi women fight for the right to vote—not with marches and sit-ins but through making clothes, selling lunches, and hosting concerts.” In 1966, two women from drastically different backgrounds launched an innovative campaign to protect African American women’s voting rights in Mississippi. Oberia Holliday was a thirty-four-year-old »
Photo Essay

A Real Evidence of Community

Poll Worker Portraits in the North Carolina Piedmont

by Kate Medley
As Georgia poll workers came under fire for alleged election fraud in the 2020 presidential election, the accusations stood in stark contrast to my own experiences as a poll worker in North Carolina during the same election. I had signed myself up in response to the urgent plea for poll workers amidst the pandemic, when »

“White supremacy in North Carolina rests in woman’s hands”

Dr. Delia Dixon-Carroll and the Power of White Women Voters

by Angela Page Robbins
When women gained the right to vote in 1920, many southern suffragists worried about turnout. The antisuffrage campaign had vigorously questioned the wisdom of allowing women to step out of the domestic sphere, thereby upending conventional gender norms, and into the political sphere, where they might compete with men for power and influence. Dr. Delia »

Voting Rights in Georgia

A Short History

by Orville Vernon Burton, Peter Eisenstadt
“[The 2020 Democratic victory] was the culmination of a century and a half of efforts by Black citizens in Georgia to be able to vote, and the first election in the state’s history when the power of white conservatives and the presumption of white supremacy were decisively defeated.” Before the enactment of the Voting Rights »
credit: Amos Kennedy

The Rhetoric and the Reality of the New Southern Strategy

by Courtland Cox, Nsé Ufot, Charles V. Taylor, Emilye Crosby
“I think that white voters in the South are more nuanced than people think. I know that Black voters are more nuanced than folks think. And we have to begin to engage with the electorate in a different way because folks don’t want to engage with the South, but the South engages with you.” Courland »

The South’s Democracy Struggle Reaches New Urgency

by Benjamin Barber
“The current iteration of voter suppression that has swept across the South has been met by renewed organizing efforts that remain determined to fully restore the Voting Rights Act and secure the promise of democracy.” The South has often served as the crucible for democracy, and in recent years, the COVID pandemic, new voting restrictions, »

These Are Revolutionary Times

Back Porch

by Marcie Cohen Ferris
“The right to vote remains the most essential key to freedom and choice in all aspects of our lives.” As we move through these fraught days in America, watching with horror the incomprehensible destruction and death in Israel, Gaza, and Ukraine, I ponder if we are living in more historic, troubling times than generations before »

Sea Turtle Sonnet

by Zeina Hashem Beck
Our parents stayed during the civil war.Don’t say we escaped, just that we too failed.We left Beirut on the verge of collapse& revolution. That clearing of hope,where would we be without it? Ask Ziad,who put the city on a stage & laughedat its slow ways of killing us with pillsor memory. So many of us »
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