Tag: Bernice King

Doug Jones Won U.S. Senate Race in Alabama Because of Black Women Trying to “Save America”

(photo via thenation.com)

by Marie Solis via newsweek.com

Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore in Tuesday’s Alabama Senate race with the overwhelming support of black women voters, 98 percent of whom cast their ballots for the Democrat.  According to CNN’s exit polls, only 34 percent of white women voted for Jones, with 63 percent of that voter bloc offering their support to Moore instead. The Republican has been accused of pursuing inappropriate relationships with teen girls as an adult.

“Doug Jones would not have won today without the turnout we saw from African-American voters,” Symone Sanders, a Democratic strategist, told Newsweek. “Black women have been absolutely clear in their support for Democratic policies and Democratic candidates. It’s high time for Democrats…to invest in that effort.”

Sanders said it was the grassroots, on-the-ground efforts of Jones’s African-American supporters that helped bring black voters to the ballot box on Tuesday and push him across the finish line. But if Democrats want to carry their 2017 successes into the 2018 midterms, they can’t count on black women alone to carry the party.

“Black women have been attempting to save America since the dawn of time,” Sanders said. “That doesn’t mean we should allow the fate of America to be laid at the feet of black women. It has to be a multicultural effort.”

Still, others couldn’t help but notice the poetic justice of a Democrat with an upstanding record on civil rights winning in deep-red Alabama. “It’s no coincidence that Selma, where blood was shed in the struggle for voting rights for Black people, pushed Doug Jones ahead for good,” Bernice King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, tweeted following Jones’s win. Selma, Alabama—the site of 1965’s “Bloody Sunday”—was one of the Democratic candidate’s strong spots with black voters.

The Jones camp had tried to leverage the candidate’s civil rights record to appeal to African-American voters in the state. When he served as a prosecutor, Jones was responsible for convicting members of the Ku Klux Klan who bombed a Birmingham, Alabama, Baptist church, killing four young girls. “I’m very humbled and honored to have played a part in the civil rights saga, if you will, many years after the fact,” Jones said during a campaign rally in Montgomery, Alabama, another famous site for the civil rights movement.

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Judge in South Carolina Throws Out Sit-In Convictions for “Friendship Nine”

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A judge in Rock Hill, S.C., vacated the convictions of nine black men who were arrested in 1961 for sitting at a whites-only lunch counter. (Photo by Megan Gielow for The New York Times)

Rock Hill, South Carolina (CNN) A South Carolina judge on Wednesday threw out the convictions of the Friendship Nine, who were jailed in 1961 after a sit-in protest in Rock Hill, South Carolina, during the civil rights movement.

“Today is a victory in race relations in America,” said Bernice King, daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., said in a news conference following the ruling. “It is a new day.”

The prosecutor who pushed for this momentous day, 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett of Rock Hill, cited King’s father when explaining to CNN on Tuesday why he was motivated to take up the cause of the Friendship Nine: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

The proceedings began at the Rock Hill Law Center with Municipal Judge Jane Pittman Modla reading from the original court record for each of the men. She asked each of the seven men in attendance — one has since died, while another had transportation issues — to stand as their names were called.

“Offense: trespassing. Disposition: guilty. Sentence: $100 or 30 days. Condition: sent to the chain gang,” she said for each of them, reading from the 1961 docket.

Retired state Supreme Court Justice Ernest Finney, who was the men’s defense attorney in 1961, entered the motion to have the sentences tossed out. The 83-year-old required help standing and propped himself on the table in front of him as he spoke.

“May it please the court, today I’m honored and proud to move this honorable court to vacate the conviction of my clients. These courageous and determined South Carolinians have shown by their conduct and their faith that the relief that they seek should be granted. I move for the convictions entered in 1961 to be vacated.”

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