In 1946, Maceo Snipes was lynched for voting in Georgia. Is this the America that’s ‘great again?’

In 1946, Maceo Snipes was lynched for voting in Georgia. Is this the America that’s ‘great again?’

WARNING: This article includes triggering content. Songs were written about the boys coming home from World War II. Victorious overseas, they returned home to a new life, with new opportunities they believed in. Maceo Snipes went abroad believing in American values. His hometown of Butler, Georgia, would be his home and as a soldier in the war, he should have had the respect of those around him for his service. Republicans will tell you that every day—remind you every time they think someone should salute or fall in line with the military. None of that, however, helped Snipes when he tried to engage in one of the most essential American rights: the right to vote.

The federal courts had just overturned Georgia rules that prevented Black voters from participating through a statewide whites only primary. Snipes, a returning soldier, had the opportunity to participate in a primary, and he would be first. A few days later, Snipes paid for his participation with his life. So much is said about making America “great again”—is this part of greatness? Is this what some want again? To put fear in those who want to participate? Georgia 2021 is, unfortunately, looking too much like a Georgia that wants to be in 1946.

Cold Cases archive at Emory University keeps the story alive.

Despite threats from the Ku Klux Klan in the run-up to the July 17 primary, Maceo Snipes took the bold step to become the first African American to cast a vote in Taylor County.[4] What happened over the next several days in Butler and two hours away in Monroe, Georgia, would grab headlines across the nation, especially in the African-American press, and prompt a young Morehouse College student, Martin Luther King Jr., to write a letter of response to the editor of The Atlanta Constitution.[5]

The day after Snipes voted, four white men arrived in a pick-up truck outside of his grandfather’s farmhouse, where Snipes and his mother Lula were having dinner. The men, rumored to be members of the local Klan chapter, called for Snipes, who came outside to meet them. During their encounter outside the house, Edward Williamson, who sometimes went by the name of Edward Cooper, shot Snipes in the back. Williamson, like Snipes, was a World War II veteran.[6]

He would not be the last: In the end, five would be murdered, including a woman who was seven months pregnant. All for voting. Over the last few days I’ve read a lot of pieces about this—including some fairly offensive ones implying Democrats and Republicans are engaging in a “game.” Voting is not a game. Men and women in Georgia have lost their lives for the right to vote. They have marched. They have been shot. They have been hung from bridges. Seeing tweets that label it a “game” that both sides play prevents us from acknowledging the past.

Republicans are deciding they want to focus on the “again” portion of making America. That the importance is reliving the past—even the policies and inequalities. Instead of again, Democratic efforts are focusing on making America great for everyone. Now. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Now. We want to do everything we can to make America great as soon as we can. We want tomorrow to be greater than it is today, and we want today to be better than yesterday. “Again” isn’t an option. Those times have long passed and they should never return. 

It’s too bad so many are so scared of people who live in their own district having the ability to vote.

EDIT: I removed a photo of lynching in the entry, as to avoid trigger issues. The story, however, may be triggering.


From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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