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McKinney Loss...Southern Blacks Are Still Colored
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Post McKinney Loss...Southern Blacks Are Still Colored 

If you think that the up-coming 4th Congressional District elections will be an unpredictable challenge in November, think again. Cynthia McKinney is out; and Denise Majette is in – that is, temporarily. To unseat McKinney, it took racist, but smart-thinking white people in Dekalb County and an even greater number of lazy and/or uneducated blacks who, after yesterdecades of fighting for civil rights in the south, still do not understand the power of the vote. Majette’s gleaming face of victory that was cast so brilliantly across the front page of the AJC on August 22nd will be short lived when Saxby Chambliss replace McKinney in November.

The die was cast for a sure win for Chambliss when white Republican voters crossed party lines and used Majette like a pawn in a game of chess because they were keenly aware of two important factors – they would never vote for Majette in a general election, and a Chambliss/McKinney challenge would have been too risky.

After moving to Georgia from Ohio last year, I am still left wondering what will it take to wake southern colored folk up. Do you need another Martin Luther King, Jr. or Medgar Evers? Are southern colored folk still oblivious to why the Civil Rights Act was passed? Have you forgotten why noted racist, Senator Strom Thurmond, set an all-time record in 1957 standing on the Senate floor bombasting venomous accolades for over 24 hours filibustering against the Civil Rights Act? Most importantly, have you forgotten the cost that was paid that finally got the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964?

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was purchased with a heavy price when Viola Liuzzo, a white 39-year-old civil rights volunteer, was shot and killed by four Ku Klux Klan members; when Jimmy Lee Jackson was shot and killed by Sheriff James Clark and his deputies; when state troopers beat back marchers at Edmund Petitus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; when James Reeb, a white freedom marcher, was beaten to death by state troopers; when Andrew Goodman – a Jew, James Chaney – a black student and Michael Schwerner were all shot to death after canvassing the south to help black voters get registered. And when black voters stayed home and let Cynthia McKinney be unseated, it brought a new kind of shame to all civil rights martyrs who fought and died so that they could have the power of the vote at the polls. The shame also extends heavily to colored southern males in leadership positions, especially those left over from the civil rights era, who were too spineless to take a stand with McKinney in her efforts to expose corruption in our government.

Congresswoman McKinney was not defeated, however. Her indelible spirit and pattern of courage has earned her a place in American history. The image of Mary McLeod Bethune she so gracefully resembles; and her stubborn tenacity to refuse to bend when strong winds of opposition are pressed against her back is the true mark of a “Great Lady” and a trail-blazer for future leaders, especially young women, to follow.

After living here for a year, I have quickly learned that southern white people understand three extremely important elements of survival and prosperity that southern colored Negroes clearly do not have – the power of money, the power of the vote and the power of unity.

The over all concept of southern colored folk reminds me so much of Chris Browne’s cartoon, Hagar The Horrible. In the first frame, in Monk stands outside Hagar’s headquarters and says to Hagar’s side-kick, “I am Brother Olaf and I’m here to enlighten your people.”
Hagar’s side-kick responds, “Just a minute – I’ll go tell the boss.”

In the second frame the side-kick addresses Hagar sitting in a chair drinking beer, “Hagar, there’s a man out here selling candles.”


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