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The Bay State Banner
The Bay State Banner

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Voting is key to attaining justice, equality

Melvin B. Miller
Voting is key to attaining  justice, equality

Voting is such a basic requirement of democracy that it is baffling how any citizen could fail in the responsibility to go to the polls on Election Day. These days, the commitment to assure freedom, justice and equality for all is under attack in the republic. One would expect that all citizens averse to the authoritarianism proposed by conservative Republicans would be certain to cast their votes.

For Blacks, every election is important, regardless of the issues or the candidates. Every election is a test of the dynamic political response to any subject before them. Conservatives still remember the massive turnout for Lyndon Johnson in 1964 that assured the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The one-sided 95% Black vote for Johnson also assured passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Since the LBJ election in 1964, Republicans have had to promote presidential candidates with the capacity to win despite losing 90% of the Black vote. The effort to overcome this impediment has induced conservatives to attack in courts the provisions of the Voting Rights Act and to engage in essentially unconstitutional strategies to diminish the Black vote or modify its power with questionable political redistricting strategies.

When the Bay State Banner was first published in 1965, the Black vote had just emerged from the victory that established the Civil Rights Act to make it unlawful everywhere in the United States to discriminate on the basis of race in education, employment and places of public accommodation.

The Banner’s slogan on the paper at that time was “Unity, Progress. Let’s do it ourselves.” The message was to work together to achieve change without undue reliance on affirmative action. Early on there was some unrealistic expectation that benefits would come from affirmative action, that was considered by some to be a quasi form of reparations.

Blacks have a visionary concept of America and the commitment and endurance to exercise their right to vote in every election to enact it democratically.

the black vote, voter participation