This is the last in an occasional series on issues of race, identity and politics ahead of Election Day, including a look at the optics of politics, a white Southern Democrat fighting for survival and how parallels to the past haunt the age of Obama.
By Jen Christensen, CNN
San Francisco (CNN) - To call the Rev. Amos C. Brown a veteran of the civil rights movement is an understatement.
He was just 15 when he met the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in San Francisco after being driven cross-country by Mississippi activist Medgar Evers.
He was one of eight students handpicked to take the only college class King ever taught. He and King were arrested during a lunch-counter sit-in at a nearby downtown Atlanta department store. He also was one of the famed Freedom Riders who blazed a trail through the Deep South.
At 71 and slowed by a stroke, Brown could be satisfied as senior pastor to his 3,000-strong flock at Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, the Bay Area's version of King's Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Instead, he has been working behind the scenes - praying with President Barack Obama before his second debate - as well as working on the front lines, trying to register as many African-Americans as possible ahead of Tuesday's election.
His goal: to strengthen his community's political voice, fight against what he perceives as efforts to diminish that voice and keep the country's first black president in office.
"My mentor (Evers) died trying to get people the vote – a right that was theirs. We've got to remember this," he says. "People must know how many others were sacrificed trying to get people this right."
Walking 'the line'
It's a warm mid-October day when Brown and two volunteers from his church head out to the San Francisco County Jail and a Fillmore District barbershop to make personal appeals to register voters.
First stop is the jail, where Brown gingerly makes his way up the building's steps and is met by Susan Fahey, a representative from the sheriff's office.
She reminds the group not to bring in cell phones or purses. "And watch your black pens," she says. "They will try to take them."
Brown's group is here as part of "This Is My Vote," a national project of major African-American Baptist conventions and the NAACP, where he's on the board of directors.
The NAACP started the campaign after several states passed laws the organization fears will disenfranchise millions of American voters, including the elimination of Sunday voting, voter ID requirements and bans on allowing ex-felons to vote.
The Rev. Amos Brown’s office is crowded with awards and multiple boxes of research.
After going through extensive security, Brown's small group meets with Nick Gregoratos, a lawyer whose passion is registering prisoners. Together, under close supervision, they enter "the line," the main hallway of this 1960s-era facility.
Narrow cells are on each side. As they enter, dozens of young men in orange sweat suits, many of whom had been sleeping, get up and move to the front of their cells. They stand, curious, watching closely from behind thick gray bars.
Brown goes up to each cell and talks with the men. Many recognize and greet him warmly.
"Dr. Brown," they call out. "Over here, come over here."
When they get to the first cell, Gregoratos shouts out the rules, which are complicated for those doing time in California. But many of the jail's prisoners are eligible to vote.
"Now remember, you can't use the jail as your address. Use where you last lived or if you were homeless, list the closest intersection," he tells an inmate filling out a form.
He explains how the inmates will get an opportunity to vote on their interests.
"Three ballot issues you'll care about: three strikes, the death penalty and affordable housing," Gregoratos says.
California Proposition 36 would revise the three strikes law to impose a life sentence only if the third crime is "serious or violent." It would also allow lifers to be re-sentenced if their third crime wasn't "serious or violent." State Proposition 34 would eliminate the death penalty as a sentencing option. San Francisco's Proposition C would create a trust fund to create more affordable housing in one of the most expensive markets in the country.
"See," Brown says, "it is in your best interest to vote."
Mae B. Winn, one of Brown's volunteers, talks with many of the men. On these visits she finds herself preaching the Gospel more than talking about registering people to vote.
"But I always find a way to bring it back around," Winn says. "It's that important."
She closes a conversation with a young man by saying, "You may not have much, but you do have a right to vote in this country that can't be taken away."
As Brown watches one young man with a small tattoo on his cheek fill out a registration form, another prisoner calls out to him. He explains that his grandfather is a member of Brown's congregation.
"We knew each other back in Jackson," Brown says to one of his volunteers, referring to the man's grandfather. "This is much too small a world."
After their chat, the man fills out a voter registration form. Brown then steps back and quietly surveys all the men crowded up against the bars.
"There is so much wasted talent here," he says.
Brown and his volunteers manage to register about 30 men, some for the first time. "No one ever asked me before," inmate Sherard King says. "I'm glad they took the time."
'Katy Perry … doesn't do it'
The 2008 election marked the first time young black voters had the highest voter turnout rate among racial groups, according to census figures. Some 55.4% of registered African-Americans age 18-24 voted. For those ages 25-44, the figure was higher: 64% .
In comparison, 49.4% of registered whites age 18-24 and 62.1% of those age 25-44 voted. For Asians, 40.6% between 18 and 24 voted; for Hispanics, that number was 38.8%.
Brown wants to build on those figures. From memory, he rattles off the numbers of unregistered voting-age African-Americans the way some men rattle off baseball players' batting averages: "495,658 in Georgia; in New York, 395,170; in Florida, 406,806; and in my own state, here in California, 208,235," Brown says, quoting figures generated by the NAACP's analysis of census figures.
The Rev. Amos Brown is known for his ability to bring people to their feet with his dynamic preaching. Brown and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shared the same speech teacher.
Though Brown has personal tragedy to remind him how crucial the vote is for his community - Evers was assassinated in 1963, five years before King's death - he knows that young people today don't have the same experiences shaping their perspective.
So he tries to reach out to them personally. He and some of his church's volunteers make regular rounds to register and encourage the community to vote.
Emory University political science professor Andra Gillespie, who wrote her dissertation on the effectiveness of voter registration and mobilization drives, says personal appeals such as this are key.
"Having Katy Perry record a robocall, as one campaign did, doesn't do it," she says. "Studies show that having someone who is a friend make a personal appeal – or even someone pretending to be your friend or who comes across as nice – that is what turns people out to vote."
Photo ops and promises
As Brown leaves the jail, a young woman stops him on the building's steps. "You preached at my grandfather's funeral service last year," the woman says as she shakes his hand and smiles.
She asks for his help. Brown listens closely as she describes a family problem. He promises to follow up. Before she leaves, he reminds her to vote, and she agrees.
A sheriff's officer overhears the exchange and notes, "Dr. Brown truly is the conscious of our community."
Brown walks down one more step before another young woman stops him. This one asks to have her photo taken with him. As her friend pulls out an iPhone, Brown reminds them about the election. They promise to vote and snap a picture.
As he heads to the parking lot, Brown is running a few minutes behind for his next appointment.
"It is a small burden of service," he says, preoccupied with his mission. "I hope people realize they can be heard if they vote."
Wherever Brown goes, it is like this. Another young man stops him in the parking lot. He lets Brown know he's been convicted of a crime. He's upset. He complains his jury was not diverse.
"Jurors are picked from the voter rolls," Brown reminds him. "If people want a jury of their peers, they're going to need to vote."
Brown promises to come to the young man's sentencing.
Praying with the president
A year before his death, King spoke of "the fierce urgency of now."
"In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late," King said. "We must move past indecision to action."
Brown says he was reminded of those words when he and another civil rights veteran, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, were asked to provide spiritual counsel on a conference call with the president before his second debate with Republican nominee Mitt Romney last month.
"We prayed with the president and gave him encouragement," Brown says, not wanting to give away too many details.
"I did tell him to be brave, to be bold."
Bold and brave action has marked Brown's life, and the neighborhood around his church is filled with concrete reminders of his efforts to empower a community.
Outside Third Baptist, he points to where the church runs its soup kitchen. In the last few years, its line has snaked around the block. Down the street, he points to the low-income and senior housing his church built. The structure is at capacity. Then there's the mission his church established to help nearly 3,000 refugees. There's also the AIDS outreach the church started long before people knew what to call the disease.
There are also signs here that the broader community is grateful for the work. The city has put up banners to honor the church's 160th anniversary. There is a colorful mural depicting African-American leaders, Brown's face among the images.
Not too far away sits the City Hall complex. It's where Mayor Willie Brown made the pastor a city supervisor in 1996, and it's where the mission he's on today started more than 50 years ago.
"That's where I first met Dr. King," Brown says. "Medgar Evers drove me across the country in his '55 Olds to an NAACP meeting. I was a youth leader representing Mississippi back then. That's where this all started back in 1956."
He worked with Evers, the NAACP field secretary for their home state of Mississippi, on a secret voter registration drive. They drove all over the state. The work was so dangerous they often disguised themselves as sharecroppers so they wouldn't be noticed.
Brown was just 15, he says, when he first got into the civil rights movement. Since then, he has spent a lifetime trying to create a more just world. This passion put Brown on a first-name basis with almost everyone mentioned in civil rights history books - from King, Lowery and Evers to Rosa Parks and Julian Bond.
Brown was handpicked to take King's class at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Soon after, he and King were arrested together when they staged a lunch counter sit-in at Rich's department store with some of Brown's fellow students and other civil rights activists. In 1961, Brown became one of the famed Freedom Riders, an interracial group of college students who rode interstate buses through the segregated South and faced attacks and imprisonment.
With a recommendation from King, Brown studied at the civil rights leader's alma mater, Crozer Theological Seminary near Philadelphia. In 1976 he landed one of the most coveted preaching jobs in the country, taking over as senior pastor at Third Baptist. The congregation is considered so politically important that former President Bill Clinton spoke at the church's 150th anniversary.
Photos of Brown with Clinton, President Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela blanket the walls of his church office.
While he is a player in the political landscape, the public seems to better accept him as a social critic than as a part of the political establishment.
He lost when he ran for a seat on a community college board. He lost when he ran for the San Francisco school board in 1992. He failed to win re-election as a city supervisor in 2000 - after which one political observer noted: "He's a Mr. Outsider, not a Mr. Insider."
The next year, he asked at a post-9/11 memorial service, "America, is there anything you did to set up this climate?" - prompting Sen. Dianne Feinstein and then-Gov. Gray Davis to walk out, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2008, some black pastors criticized him for opposing Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage. In 2009, he raised eyebrows when he invited his former seminary classmate and President Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago, to speak at Third Baptist.
Even as a youth, the establishment didn't always like what he had to say.
When Brown was in high school he nearly got expelled after giving an interview to the Cleveland Plain Dealer that was critical of segregated schools. He said his school was separate but not equal to the schools around him and his teachers were underpaid. When the senior class voted him its president, his school principal declared the election invalid. When he was elected a second time, his principal abolished the student council.
Now one of his biggest political challenges is to make sure his community stays engaged with this year's election. He's determined to make sure individuals, rather than super PACs and corporations, have a real voice in this election.
'One tough customer'
From the jail, Brown heads to the Chicago Barber Shop II, a two-story business where the minister seems to know everyone.
"Do I have a potential voter here?" he asks as he sits in barber Robert Harlin's chair on the second floor.
The Rev. Amos Brown talks politics with his barber and friend, Robert Harlin.
As Harlin gives him a trim, he tells Brown that he always votes.
"I want to give our president four more years," Harlin says. "He needs more time. Isn't that what we should do, Bean Pole?" Harlin calls out, using a waiting customer's nickname.
"Absolutely," says the man, looking up from what he's texting.
Trimmed-up, Brown makes his way down to the first floor of the shop. An 83-year-old customer notices the minister and explains who Brown is to a young barber, who confesses he has never voted.
"I've never missed a vote," the older gentleman says in admonishment. "You really need to make it a habit."
"Dr. Brown, you have a customer here," the man calls out.
Brown is preoccupied with the barber working the next chair over, who gives Brown a dozen excuses. He's on the road too much, he says. He doesn't have time. He doesn't follow the issues.
"He's one tough customer," Brown says to a volunteer who waits nearby. After 10 minutes of quiet and calm conversation between the two, Brown tells the barber, "You really need to think about this."
The barber doesn't budge, but Brown has faced death over such things. A barber's resistance doesn't deter him; instead, it makes him even more determined.
"Again, just think about it," Brown says, as he gets ready to leave. The barber finally agrees. He will at least do that.
Brown puts him on his list to visit later. He is determined to create King's "beloved community" on this Earth, even if he does it just one voter - or barber - at a time.
This guy quotes King though he seems to be at odds with him. King wanted to bring people together, this guy seems more focused about race than anything else and about keeping a black man in office. How is this guy not racist? MLK was a Republican and so was Abe Lincoln. Should people be calling me telling me to vote for someone because they are white? No that is wrong, vote for who ever you think will do the job best.
Prop. 34 proponents are perpetuating a huge FRAUD against California voters, knowing that with the millions of out-of-state dollars they can repeat their lies enough times that voters will begin to accept them. A Study by Judicial Watch concludes that Prop. 34 is “both disingenuous and deceptive.” Three former CA governors and every major law enforcement group in CA OPPOSE Pro. 34.
Pro. 34 is dangerous, will cost taxpayers more, and was poorly thought through.
Prop. 34 will NOT save money, but instead COST TAXPAYERS BILLIONS of dollars more in additional trials, prison changes, and escalating health care costs.
Claims that Prop. 34 will save money are based upon a paper written by a former judge who has been advocating for abolishing the death penalty for decades (biased and inaccurate). A review of these numbers by the Legislative Analyst’s Office concludes that the assumptions supporting these claimed savings “may well be wrong.” Michael Genest, former State Of California Finance Director, found that these “savings claims are grossly exaggerated.” Also, the loss of the threat of the death penalty will substantially increase the total number of murder trials by taking away a major incentive for murderers to plead guilty.
Prop. 34 ignores the escalating costs of medical care for life-time inmates. Prop. 34 will cost CA taxpayers billions more over the next several years. (It is these huge medical costs that are fueling the attack on life sentences under 3-strikes under Prop. 36.)
Prop. 34 is DANGEROUS. Experts conclude that Pro. 34 will increase the number of murders in California. Criminals will be more brazen in their crimes without the death penalty. Also, there will be no deterrent for the 34,000 inmates already serving life from killing a guard or an inmate. They are already serving the maximum penalty.
One of the key methods for “saving” money under Prop. 34 is to move death row inmates into the general population and house them from single-person cells with other inmates. One strong proponent of Prop. 34 admits this is unworkable– the risk of danger posed by mixing the prison population is too great, and would increase costs associated with such an arrangement.
Life without parole is means they WILL GET OUT. Efforts are already being pursued by the same people supporting anti-punishment ballots and legislation to get rid of life sentences. (Human Rights Watch, Old Behind Bars, 2012.) On 9/30/12, Brown passed the first step, signing a bill to allow 309 inmates with life sentences for murder to be paroled after serving 25 years. Someone who has committed a brutal murder at age 20 could get out by age 45! Governors are also notorious for releasing inmates who should never be released. Convicted killers get out and kill again, such as Darryl Thomas Kemp, Kenneth Allen McDuff, and Bennie Demps.
ARGUMENTS OF INNOCENCE BOGUS. Proponents can’t identify one innocent person executed in CA. They can’t identify one person on CA’s death row who has exhausted his appeals and has a plausible claim of innocence. Quite simply, CA’s appellate process, designed by the very same people promoting Prop. 34, is 100% effective in weeding out the innocent. Every person Prop. 34 proponents refer to are either non-death-penalty cases or out-of-state cases where defendants do not get the benefit of CA’s appellate process.
Don’t get fooled by the bombardment of lies. See cadeathpenalty.webs. com and voteno34. org for more facts explaining why you should NOT SUPPORT Prop. 34.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you have some kind of agenda you are trying to push...
The Dems are inclusive of EVERYONE! GOP voter suppression has made a lot of older Blacks who lived through Jim Crow get to the polls! Their voter suppression tactics backfired!
VOTE onTuesday! Obama/Biden 2012 ROCK THE VOTE!!!!!
HYPOCRITES: what would happen if ANYONE even remotely suggested creating the following:
 White Entertainment TV
 Congressional White Caucus
 National White History month
 ...how about we SUE the NBA for not having enough white players?
..........American KNOW what would happen...riots, violent mobs, law suits, Reverends Wright + Sharpton + Jackson spewing hatred (again), Black Panthers putting bounties on people's heads publicly (again)....and EVERY LAST ONE OF THESE GROUPS are Democrats. The MOMENT we elected a black man president, the black "card" blew up. Obama has PROVED that the ONLY person holding anyone back is THEMSELVES....not "the man" ....not "the system"....Obama has proved that point.
As a white man I would have to say we've had all those things already, but now as a majority we don't meet the classification of special interest, their were generations of white only clubs, your being assinine, so have all of these groups combined changed your life will you wake up tomorrow and say "that black man or black women is treated better than you by a cop". Life is to short to waste worrying about some one else's difficulties, unless you chose to reach out and help. Who ever takes the white house they'll have their hands full for the next for years and all we can hope is that they work for all Americans. America is a stronger country when they stand shoulder to shoulder. That strenght will be needed in the coming decades in the 21st century.
Just a thought
We do have the KKK but that is generally frowned upon.
And to the other comment, at what point is the black race "caught up" enough to no longer need such discriminatory agencies? You gotta admit, it is the news media and blacks that are the true racists these days. The Treyvon Martin case in Florida proves it. Press and blacks were all over the "white" shooter until they found out he was hispanic.
The point is, we already have all that – we just don't call it so...
One Black president since what 1700 something? (No woman.)
Sports did not allow Black players until Jackie Robinson
Universities would not enroll Black people or hire Black professors.
Under Jim Crow everything was white only. And open violence against Black people was legal, or went unpunished.
The point is, Black citizens HAD to create organizations to fight for education, jobs, justice, for the vote, and literally to protect themselves. (From us white people.)
Consider this story, a real guy from Illinois back in the 1800s, named Free Frank, was born a slave. He worked his entire life to free himself, his wife, his kids, and then his grandkids out of slavery. While he was doing that, white men were saving their money to build a house, buy more farmland, buy a college education for a child, or whatever. If you count up all the resources Black Americans have had to spend in dollars and woman and man hours just to get on EQUAL FOOTING in this country, it would run into the trillions – money they did not get to spend on building up their own communities. So yes, NAACP – because we have an American history of enslaving Africans in America, we have a history of Jim Crow and lynching Black people, we have a history of excluding Black people from the voting process – which you can see in action right now, today! And even if a few white individuals may have experienced some of these exclusions along the line somewhere, sometime, these things were never done to white people as a entire race of people, systematically, for hundreds of years, under law and under threat of a gun or a lynching.
And I am white saying this, just so you are clear on that.
We do not have a history of Black people hanging white people from trees, shooting them at the polls, keeping them from running for office, or forcing them into the 'colored washroom,' or the 'colored section,' or into the back of the bus.
Black people did not burn white towns and run their residents out, as was done to Black Americans. Black people did not enslave white people.
Everything is NOT equal in American history. When it is, we can have an organization for the advancement of all humanity or all colors. Meanwhile, Black people still need to deal with some big systemic issues they face in America due to racism and injustice. And finally getting one Black president did not fix our racism problem.
So please read a history book and stop spreading misunderstanding about excellent organizations like the NAACP which have never done anything to hurt YOU. In fact, go read a history of the organization and of all the things they have done over the years. And while you are at it, please read about Ida B Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer and Martin Luther King. This way, you can speak with a truer and fuller knowledge of American history.
Thank you -
Congratulations LIBERALS for achieving the MOST USE of race and class warfare during ANY election in U.S. History. How does it feel to be associated to whipping out "special interest" cards more so than any other campaign in history? Way to go.
If all our presidents are white and nobody ever mentions Black people, Black culture, or the need to protect Black people's rights, then all is hunky-dory. Talking about these things, mentioning RACE ins not RACIST. RACISM means excluding people of color from the American picture. WHITE is not a default setting for humanity, it is one of many ways of being. And where there is RACISM or INJUSTICE towards BLACK PEOPLE, they and their supporters are allowed to speak about it! THIS IS NOT RACISM! THIS IS NOT RACE WARFARE!
Race warfare is when REPUBLICANS try to suppress the Black or Hispanic vote as they are trying to do right now!
When we respond to that, we are not being racist, – we are calling racism as we see it!
“REPUBLICANS ARE RACISTS” …. I see….and Michele Obama promoting the BLACK congressional caucus is not?...as if a white congressional caucus, or white entertainment channel, or NAAWP, would EVER be allowed to exist without riots, burning buildings, violent mobs, and law suits ? Get real. Obama spent 20 years attending the sermons of Rev. Jeremiah Wright…that’s 1000 Sundays….with a man that is patently the most visceral, racist, militant, partisan, separatist, anti-white person on the earth…and THAT (apparently) is just fine. Then there is the ugly truth of HISTORY. Everything deemed racist…whether it be the KKK, Jim Crow laws, Southern states arresting black peace protesters, Pro-Slavery states….ALL OF THEM were creations by the DEMOCRATS. On the other hand, Dr. Martin Luther King, Abe Lincoln, the FIRST black congressmen, and 90% of the black voting population through 1960….ALL REPUBLICANS. Sooooooo….which party is racist?
If you're sick and tired of Obama's lyin, vote for Romney/Ryan.
Wow very interestiing since a white man has never walked in a black mans shoes or vice versa neither one can really have to much to say . Why the white man was never born bla He has never lived the way a black man has lived. I only know that God has put us here for a purpose. Whites will always go by the sterotypes that they see a black man goes by . Until you sit down and or talk or knows what it's like to be a minority you have no right to judge anyone. That goes for both sides black and white..
Gary Johnson 2012!
REVENGE, yep, that's the type of gutter politics Obama has been running all campaign!!!
All this talk of blacks being racist because they vote for a black man is nonsense. Black vote democrat because it is the party they share the most similiar valves with. It is a stupid thing to say because until President Obama, blacks voted for a white candidate because it was always a white who represented the party. For the whites who are claiming blacks are racist for voting for a black man after voting for a white man since having the right to vote – you have voted for a white man forever, does that not make you racist according to how you view this?....the truth is, you are likely the racist because you simply believe the office of president is exclusively for a white man because a man has been the only man who has occupued it until now. Barack Obama is simply the more qualified for the office.
I don't think anyone has said that black people are racist for voting for Obama. They have, however, said that if THEIR ONLY REASON for voting for Obama is the fact that he's black; well, that's racist. And that's 100%. If someone said to you "I voted for Romney because he's white", he'd be crucified.
Are you not confirming in a round-about way what I haved?.....nevertheless, blacks are supporting democratic ideaology just as they have done for many years and will likely continue doing as long as the republican party practice their exclusion ideology....
I don't know why some people state the question "What has Obama done for Blacks?" The reason I say this is because these same individuals would be the ones screaming "bloody murder" if he did try to do something for the black community. In this regard the president is in a no-win situation (as well as the blacks)...."Damned if he do...Damned if he don't".
The worst thing of all is probably 99.9% of the people that keep reiterating this question don't give a damn about the black community....pathetic.
Dr. Brown and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. may have shared the same teacher but he is not MLK Jr. If Dr. King had lived he would have worked to ensure young men of all races knew that they were valuable in the eyes of God and that God knew the plans he had for them (Jeremiah 29:11). That they all have the same value at birth and what changes them is who speaks life into their lives (Proverbs 15:4). I understand social justice is an indicator of a societies humanity but real social justice begins when someone does the right thing–no matter what!
I think a big thing you are missing is his mentor, Medger Evers and MLK were assasinated, as were 2 Kennedies, and so was Abraham Lincoln. He is frankly lucky to be alive, and probably only alive because he is now more a minister than the agent of change MLK was. Fortunately he does not need to fight for the right to even exist as an equal black man, but his community has a lot larger issues of poverty, broken homes due to drug policy which are not things you solve at the ballot, but thru hard work one person at a time.
I have a feeling if you spoke to him, you'd hear a lot of the universal brotherhood, and the bible you are quoting. Really i feel like there are multiple bibles because that is the bible i hear, but when people describe their religious views it seems like the opposite of what was preached on the mount.
You might want to read a book "god is Subversive" by lee griffith, has a very good take on some of the issues facing black america.
"Blacks" are less than 13% of the population,,,,Why are you so afraid of them?
What good is voting when more people can vote for a president and that person running gets more votes than the other but loses the election because of the elecctro college crap ? Lets have a vote to stop that !
Please read this article.
Revenge and more and more and more
Do a reverend or Pastor or Priest agree with the tune
Or is just they are a one way of look and get their Mr Obama regardless of anything
They do not see nothing wrong on Mr Obama Waaaaooooooo!!! that is something
I vote as a La
Hello out there, this is a man who has seen the worst and the best from Americans, he has spent an entire life time working with people, his message is not to hurt or cause pain, its not to instill hatred, its been to remind people of a struggle that still takes place today 60 years after lives were lost to shine a light on the issue. It is worth remembering. People die all over the world for their voices to be heard, when you already have those rtights, they shouldn't be taken for granted. As for the hatred I hear, or those who think how come they get something and I don't, grow up your no longer in primary school, your adults who have to take of yourselfs, that just life. It way to short to spend hating one and other.
Yean I know I was a little out of line, no one is perfect.
Good luck to both sides.
...some trust luck, others use lies.
is any Black American voting for Romney or any white candidate anywhere anytime?
yeah, there is...we've just been doing it for every election prior to this one! you BIGOT!
Sounds like a pastor and a church that needs to lose their tax exempt status for mixing in politics.
@Alex,practice what yah preach bud with Billy Graham siding up with your chosen one the Mormon moron..Or Pat Robertson and the rest of those religious hypocrites,yah know who the white racist ones!!
That's spot right on.... Pete
Yes because all felons are democrats...
That's because republican felons are judges and find themselves innocent; or, rather, they are banking thieves, Wall Street felons, or other white collar thugs who can just buy their way out of prison.
Funny.! How about the wants that do white collar crimes...you know steal from the needy, Wall Street. Republicans. By the way did you take your meds this morning.
There a few other "Icon"voting rights out there... called Diebold voting machines, conveniently placed in toss-up state poll precincts....huuuuuummmmmm?
@On streetwise,isn't Diebold the company that Romneys son owns part in,its one of those voting machine companies!!
Yet a study of voting patterns in 2008 showed that more people voted Obama because he was black than vote for him for the same reason. Racism is alive and well.
I just voted for President Obama because he is by far the better candidate.
@rbrbndmn,thanks for the smart choice,I did as well!!
I voted Obama too! by mail, a while ago! No chance of any religious fanatic changing my mind, not now or EVER!
Would that include whites like me?
We have had one black president in hundreds of years of American history.
Ergo, a whole lot of white people must have been voting for their race for most of American history?
Anyone who ONLY promotes, advances, and/or supports their own race is wrong. Too many leaders like this man promote help there own people. You won't find a person of another race in their office. This isn't solidarity, it's simply racism.
I am tired of racists claiming that the only way an African American can prove they are not racist is to vote for a white guy.
And I'm tired of people calling anyone who doesn't want another four years of devastating incompetence a racist.
People who vote for a white is a racist . But a black man voting for a black man is not. Even though the black man has don should do a bad job. O I see.
Tom, people are only called racist when they use coded language to say, 'the president isn't white enough'. Things like: He wasn't a boy scout. He's a muslim. He wasn't born here. He didn't get the best grades in school. He went to a church that had a pastor who said things I don't like. He drinks beer made in another country (yes, people said that during the Beer Summit).
It's funny how if you're not white you're expected to prove you're good enough with extra paperwork but Repubs were actively trying to make it so the foreign born Arnold (ex Governor of California) could be President. Bunch of hypocrites.
Is that the best you can do. I think voting for the best person that could do the job.
So blacks have voted for white men for over 100 years and now they want to vote for one of thier own and THEY are racists.If you want to talk about racist then just read most of the blog responses on any subject concerning Obama and you will easily find them.This is from a white male.
If you have proof that the guy never hires or works with white people, post it otherwise stop making stuff up. Look at South Africa for example... when black people took over they fully included white people for example. Maybe you're projecting your own desires as far as what you'd do as a racist white guy if you cold do whatever you want to do.
REVENGE, yep, this is the type of gutter politics Obama's been running all campaign!!!
Heck, BoBo hasn't stopped campaigning since January of 2008!
And what has Romney been doing the last six years?
Isn't there a saying about not criticizing someone for a speck in their eye until you remove the board from yours?
After four years the president has 'failed' to dig this country out of a chasm that took decades to dig. So lets fire him, replace him with Romney and his Bush era advisers and hope his snake skin oil solutions will work. Brilliant!
The pit that our economy has slid into was started in January 2007, when my fellow dumbocraps took over both houses of congress. Take a look at the DOW and the unemployment rates from 2000 on. They did not start to tank until nine months AFTER the dumbocraps took over congress. Therefore, the blame lies squarely upon the dumbocrap congress.
Also. The president, any president cannot pass any bill into law on his own. It takes the congress to first pass that law. There for blame my (your?) party, the dumbocraps.
@Scott,and who created these wars,Medicare Part D,tax cuts all unfunded,it was your racist republicans .Sending Colin Powell to the UN to lie about WMDs and start a profittable war for Bush and Cheneys Halliburton,quit your crap, you delushional republicans just slay me with you ignorent acts of patriotism but only 30% of both house republicans have ever served militarily,check that out,facts do hurt dont they Scott!!
So to do the math, your saying that in 9 months democrats brought the country down, the other 7 years and 3 months of the government at the time had nothing to do with it. Sorry but that's bad math.
unless you wherearound for the civil rights movement you have no idea how hard fought these rights where. If you want to see them all evaporate then vote for romney. Not only civil rights but womans rights and union rights. Young people don't have any idea what it was like to work for nothing and have no say in your health care or job safety . Women today take birth control for granted. talk to some of the older people that went through this time in history . It is relevent. America is the land for everyone not a few. Wise up we don;t want a two class system. Forward.
We already have a two class Country or system as you call it. There are the Minorities, always only blacks, and the rest of the Country. Supposedly, the Civil Rights movement was to make everyone equal, but it never will because there will always be groups and some type organizations asking for more, more more and the cries of discrimination mostly when there isn't any and just to use the race card for an advantage. I believ if there cannot be an America with only American Citizens in it, then we do not have a Nation of equals, only those that do and those that take from them.
Did you graduate from high school? Every ethnic group is considered a minority if they are not part of the majority group. And I hate to break it to you that the two classes in this country are the HAVES and HAVE NOTS. The Republican party is about money,and poor whites vote for the republican party every four years. I'm still trying to figure out what they are voting for. Because they are still poor after the election.
Yes ok because the Civil Rights act will suddenly be repealed, and destroyed if Romney wins. SURE SURE. By the way did you even know it was the Republicans that strongly supported the Civil Rights Act compared to the Democrats.
You are exactly what is wrong with this country and unfortunately you continue to breed ignorant hate filled little mongrels just like you.
My family is made up of a wonderfully diversified group of multiple races starting with me being hispanic and Italian, my husband is black and white, and my children are half black and 1/4 hispanic & italian.
My husband and I are both enlisted Soldiers in the Army and have managed to not only obtain our Bachelors Degrees but our masters as well (while deploying twice and raising 2 kids), my kids are both honor roll students and our 14 year old just made a national league baseball team (and already as college scouts looking at him).
Both my husbands parents and mine have at least a masters degree or higher and my hubands brother is a lawyer and his sister has a PHD.
So before you start stereotyping every single person of color into one generalized statement, how about you get out of your trailer, take the confederate flsg down (that war was lost a long time ago), drive into a city, and see how much times have changed?
you went in the military to get your education paid for
should have been in when i was there and they threw things at you during vietnam
you get no medal from me
So what if they received money for their education by going in the Military. Rich politicians created these wars as their children stayed at home or in college. Middle class and poor kids fight on the front line. So, great, finally someone gets something out of it. Rich kids don't enlist in the military and they don't go to war.
@Steve, but she was not, I was not born during that era either, I am proud of her family and I am a Veteran(Desert Storm), and she gets more than a medal from me, she and her husband get my thank you!!!
@proud American women,my hats off to you,you've done more than these so called arm chair generals,the republicans in both houses of those only 30% have ever served thanks again!!
The mind of the African American has been so polluted that only they would not support Bush during his presidency and still support Obama for a 2nd term despite how their communities have suffered most under his administration.
Not because Obama is black, but because he is a Democrat. WAKE UP!
Certainly it’s evident to everyone that any suggestion to improve a constipated bureaucracy by President Obama is unacceptable to Republicans. Yet it’s time to sit down on elected thrones with a winced face of determination and get past this obstruction and flush it where it belongs. Vote a straight Democratic ticket. Let’s get Congress moving again!
Yes, everyone vote on National Flush The Toilet Day, November 6, 2012 and send that floater in the White House, along with its Senate majority, swirling down the porcelain bowl.
Look at North Korea for what a straight ticket Democrat would be.
Registering people to vote, and encouraging them to vote – is awesome and good. Not protecting their vote through rejecting protections including voter qualification verification and ensure one vote per person is wrong and bad.
It is also a shame this gentleman associates with the racist organization, NAACP. Some day, perhaps everyone (including NAACP) will believe in, advance and promote MLK's message against racism
Registering people to vote, and encouraging them to vote – is awesome and good. Not protecting their vote through rejecting protections including voter qualification verification and ensure one vote per person is wrong and bad.
It is also a shame this gentleman associates with the racist organization, NAACP. Some day, perhaps everyone (including NAACP) will believe in, advance and promote MLK's message again racism.
This would have been an excellent troll post if it weren't for your name.
Who cares? These civil rights icons had their moment in history some 40 to 60 years ago. Now they are just aged race hustlers.
voter apathy is the very least of the AA community's problems. Once again blacks looking for rescue from the government instead of fixing their OWN problems.
Oh and I guess Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan sure have black and other minority concerns as priority #1 Get real regardless both are liars, as an overall generalization, republicans are stark white, backward, evangelical rednecks who are out of touch with reality or rather with reality outside of their racial group. Democrats are liberal whites, minorities who hate most whites, a bunch of no rules dancing around the fire naked, activists. In this situation i'd have to vote for the lesser of 2 evils, if I have to dance around the fire naked atleast I can enjoy it with a side of pot and a lot less old white bible thumpers killing my buzz, that said i'm voting for Obama, mainly off of principal to spit in the eye of this unfortunately still racist country. It seems like this country is nothing but a bunch of dick cheney lookalikes. Regardless YOUR president will be black once again. Celebrate in 2016.
"trying to register as many African-Americans as possible ahead of Tuesday's election"
Because he knows black people will vote for a black candidate regardless of his policies. Really, he's trying to keep this president in office because of his skin color regardless of how bad is economic policies are and Romney probably won't be any better.
In my opinion, Americans deserve every bit of pain they have coming in the future because of their poor choices at the polls. Perhaps only then they will learn, you can't vote yourself free stuff.
Biologically there is one human race. Racism is a social invention its purpose is to degrade humanity. No matter the hue of one's outer appearance each of us is made up of thirty-two chromosomes. Has any of you ever hear of a hybrid man/woman? We are all snowflakes – Uniquely one of a kind.
rex: "Biologically there is one human race."
Ah, yes, because there are no biological or genetic factors that go into your appearance. That's why white couples have black children and black couples have Asian children.
Glad you're out there covering this, Jen...and provoking us to have stimulating conversation on this important topic!
Happy to see the Rev voting for a president who will protect voting rights. I know this is something he believes deeply in and I am happy he found a candidate that represents his views.
What exactly has Obama done for black Americans anyway? He's not even a traditional Black American anyway.
what's a traditional black amercian look like?
Well he sure isnt half with, with big floppy ears
That is just awesome!!!!!
He's not even black. He has more white DNA in him than black.
Hes not even african, jokes on the black population............
Because we all know that asking someone to show ID before voting is clearly racist! Just like having to show ID before boarding a plane (or attending an Obama rally) is clearly racist!!!
As long as it's someone else's ox being gored, no problem right? If you live long enough, you just may find yourself in a situation where this issue could affect you...
It was actually done, they were called Jim crow laws. Basically since they could not defeat them due to it just being unjust, they instead found unrelated bureaucratic issues to use instead. The more complex you make things, the more the votes skew towards the upper class white male majority.
You can even find quotes where various republicans admit this is a real strategy, and the fact such laws are all being put in place to solve this issue of fraud which basically is not big enough to even be measurable.
I am sure there is corruption on both sides, but it is far larger crime to have an American who wants to vote to find they are unable since they need to take a day off work, pay $25, and half the day at the DMV. Sure it's not a big deal to someone who drives, but there are a lot of very poor people ( or people in rest homes ) where such makes it much harder to vote than it should be.
Actually, Billy Graham did more for de-segregation.
Graham joined the civil rights movement and went against the solidified racism. He insisted on taking down the ropes in the pews that seperated blacks from whites. Billy Graham even posted the minister Marin Luther King's bail to get him released from Birmingham jail in 1963 during the civil rights protests.
Billy Graham also supported obama for 2008. Not anymore. He found out the truth about obama being a liar, and a cheater, and a non-christian racist. Obama is a racist, and he attacks everyone and everything and is not a uniter, or even legally president.
Billy Graham is proudly voting for the same candidate as me, Mitt Romney 2012.
Mitt Romney is a dedicated, christian man, who is a leader, and a REAL ceo, not a fake ceo like cheney/bush.
Please get your facts correct before posting.. You are too funny and very wrong about Mitt Romney. A Christian who is the word flip flops or just plain out lies...Ed you got jokes....LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!
@Ed,Mormonism is a cult not religion.Ask how he rails against single mothers with excommunication,interracial marriages,gays, and just started within years of acceping blacks as a race..He is against any abortion and his pandering will get Romney eventually in trouble.He's also against any contraceptive devises as well,why to you think Mormon famililies have large numbers of kids,the more to be praised by John Smith their supreme one..Read up on how he polls in states he's been in Michigan,Massachusetts and New York ,they all know him that's why the president is ahead in those states by double digits,they know something we don't !!
This election is not about civil rights, that has been passed into law, and I for one like seeing blacks and whites work for a good cause. No this election is about if blacks and whites who go out and earn their way in life can continue to sustain the spending ways of this administration. I see today that even though President Lincoln freed the slaves, Mr. Obama and Joe Biden are all to happy putting chains on todays slaves, and they are not all black, they have managed to collect white, latin, and just about any race that will sell their soul to collect tax payer funded programs. Yes slavery is well and good in the halls in Washington look around and see as the slaves are paraded around to speak well of Mr. Obama. If you believe in slavery then your vote is for Mr. Obama, if you believe in independence then you can't honestly vote for Mr. Obama for you can't have it both ways with the slave master.
Would it be "RACISM" if he encouraged a vote for Romney. Was it "RACISM" when African Americans voted for Clinton, Bush, McCain etc?
If he encouraged voting for Romney, simply because he is white, then yes. Did those black voters vote for the white presidents simply because they were white? If so, then yes, it was racism.
Why is it so hard to understand. If you make decisions based upon the color of one's skin, then it is racism. Doesn't matter if it is black/black,white/white,black/white,white/black.
All while invoking the name (and, let's face it, trading on the name) of a great man who once said that he has a dream that one day his children would "live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
His goal: to strengthen his community's political voice, fight against what he perceives as efforts to diminish that voice and "KEEP THE COUNTRY"S FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT IN OFFICE".
What a great reason to vote! Never mind what he's done to our country, or what he hasn't done for the African American community... let's just keep the country's first black president in office.
Who's the racist?
not him. However citing reverse discrimination, with a story of one of the people who faced real discrimination along with Dr. King and Evers, who has been fighting to get his community from not voting to actually voting, well that just raises the topic about what your preconceptions are.
Working to include people, who should be voting is good for everyone. Frankly people who don't vote, don't deserve anything this country has to offer. And if he ran into you, he'd surely ask you if you voted.
He is working in his community (for which he is the minister) which happens to be black, which still is dealing with a lot of garbage from ridiculous laws which target them far more than other communities. And he is working for Dr. Kings dream, where all of us can sit at the same table of brotherhood, which benefits everyone in the "UNITED" States of America.
Great article. I cannot imagine facing what he has faced and still being that determined. Bravo for Brown!
Sounds like Rev. Brown knows what happened after Reconstruction and fears it's going to happen again in a different form. Way to go, Rev. Brown–get the voters to the polls.
Well, Hmmm, it offers balance to those many white folks here in the South who won't vote for Obama simply because he's black (I'm white, BTW).
Well that's well and good Jimm1bobb, but where is the story about the white pastor rallying churchgoers against Obama because he is black? You know darn good and well, if that story were to be posted, there would be riots and lawsuits involving Jesse Jackson and other folks who get paid to be racist windbags. Amazingly, it is okay for blacks to post racial bias and hatred, but if a white does it, all hell breaks loose.
always lpaying the race card. sounds like you are the one with the problem.
I'm not the one with the race problem. I am the one watching the debates and understanding the issues BEFORE I vote on Tuesday. In stark contrast to those who are simply voting for Obama because he is black, and NOT voting for Romney because he is white.
If Rev. Brown had mentioned a single issue as to why he supported Obama and not Romney, I wouldn't have take much notice. Instead he simply said "keeping the nations first black president in office". It's all about the skin color for Rev. Brown, and that is wrong.
Well he supports him because he shares some values – ie the President actually listens to his advice. It's not race, it's Dr. Kings values which are about ENDING racisim and true equality.
The fact that he was a minister who helped him spiritually prepare for the 2nd debate should indicate he is has a deeper understanding of those issues than you do. I would be surprised if for example, Romney's mormon community did not have comparable preachers who support Romney because Romney represents what they teach in the Mormon sunday school.
Those who are attempting to label blacks as racist because they are voting for a black candidate are actually proving themselves to be the racist because they are implying blacks should vote for someone other than a black simply because of his or her skin color – in this case, a white man. They should ask themselves why would blacks vote for a candidate of a party that is attempting to discriminate against them using voter suppression. It would be like voting for a candidate who promises to enslave you. No one would do it – not even those who are attempting to label blacks as racist for not voting for a white candidate.
. Only a black man can represent another black man? Only a black man can support the interests of another black? Yes, you are definitely a racist. No new ideas here. Go back to any deep south candidate running for office before the civil rights movement, and your words will be coming out of their mouth.
@Richard Shelton...LOL, can a black man only represent a black man....would it not be more appropreaite for you to ask the question, can only a white man repreaent the country – because until now, thats how it has been. I think the real problem with those who see this as blacks voting for a black candidate because he is black thinks that becauae that is how they vote. Calm down, blacks will vote for a white again as they have for years because the next democratic candidate for president will likely be white.....
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