This election, please vote for Annie Rose — and yourself
I often write about my grandmother and how she, as best she could, steered me in the right direction. I didn’t always follow her instructions and I usually paid dearly when I didn’t.
While she was wise about scratching out an existence from next to nothing, she sometimes was overly fearful about politics and life because of the horrors she had witnessed or heard about when she was growing up in the Jim Crow South. The underlying reasons for her fear would have a great bearing on something I have done religiously all of my adult life.
Those of you who have followed my column know that my grandmother could not read or write. She couldn’t add or subtract. Seeing the letters in her name on a piece of paper was akin to looking into a bowl of alphabet soup.
She had to have someone with her when she went to the grocery store to make sure she was not overcharged and that she received the correct change. Sometimes, she had to depend on the kindness and honesty of others when she sent them to the store to purchase something for her.
Annie Rose didn’t choose to be ignorant. She was a victim of politicians in the late 1800s in Louisiana and across the South who believed that it would have been wrong and dangerous for her to develop her mind and to be able to freely choose her own path in life.
Knowing what a graceful, caring and determined woman she was, I bet if she had been allowed an education, she may have been a schoolteacher, or an entrepreneur, or even an inventor.
Laws and institutionalized evil banned her from getting an education. The double whammy was she would never be able to vote, even when women’s suffrage came along because she had no way of signing her name or identifying the names of the candidates.
I often wondered how many people she either knew personally or heard of being beaten or worse, for trying to teach people like her to read and to help them register to vote.
Despite being shut out of education, she had a thirst to know things. She kept a radio on from the time she woke in morning until she fell asleep at night. She could piece together some things if she heard them enough.
She could sense when there were elections going on with the flood of political ads on the radio all day. Sometimes she would ask neighbors who they were going to vote for. She wished she could be one more vote.
My grandmother died before I was old enough to vote. But, the trials of her life inspired me to vote and to never stop.
We are approaching one of the most-significant moments in our lifetime in the upcoming election for president.
On behalf of Annie Rose, the millions like her who were denied a chance to be fully free, and those who were murdered trying to help, I ask you to register to vote and take a friend with you.
And, more importantly, vote.
Ed Pratt is a former Advocate editor. He is assistant to the chancellor for media relations at Southern University. His email address is email@example.com.