Yes, she can

The daughter of a slave votes for Barack Obama.

Published October 29, 2008 1:45PM (EDT)

Like Bitch Ph.D., I've been waiting for this story.  

Amanda Jones, 109 -- whose father was born into slavery -- has cast her mail-in vote for Barack Obama, the nation's first black presidential nominee.

As the Austin American-Statesman reports, the Jones family has lived in right-leaning Bastrop County, Texas, for five generations. Jones' father herded sheep as a slave until he was 12. As a free man, he raised cows, hogs and turkeys on his own land. Jones' mother -- with whom he went on to have 13 children -- was born right after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

But there was freedom, and there was freedom: the Jones' descendants "had to eat at segregated barbecue dives and walk through the back door while white customers walked through the front."

Still, Jones' father "urged her to exercise her right to vote, despite discriminatory practices at the polls and poll taxes meant to keep black and poor people from voting," the article states, adding that those practices were outlawed for federal elections in 1964, but not for state and local races in Texas until 1966. (Thank goodness we no longer have to worry about that kind of thing.) Jones cast her first presidential vote for Franklin D. Roosevelt. (For which of his terms, she can't recall.) Her daughters confirm that she paid her poll tax before pulling the lever. 

Because Amanda Jones is too weak to get herself to the polls, two of her 10 children helped her fill out and send a mail-in ballot for Obama. "I feel good about voting for him," she said.

So do we, Ms. Jones. So do we.

By Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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