DÈJÁ VU: 1964 in Pine Bluff?


Editor, The Commercial:

Imagine — the South, 1964. People from all over the nation converged on the South to register people to vote. Why? Because the vote is the constitutional right of every American citizen. African-Americans had been denied this right for centuries. That summer, 250 FBI agents were ordered to Mississippi to search for the bodies of three young civil rights workers. They discovered that every month a black man had been killed trying to get his right to vote.

Eventually, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on August 6, 1965. This law aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African-Americans from exercising their right to vote.

Have we forgotten this? If not, then why are the citizens of Pine Bluff being hindered and discouraged from exercising their constitutional right to the ballot? Why have many of our Council members voted against placing the initiated ordinance regulating the service and sale of alcoholic beverages and hours of operation of private clubs on the ballot so that citizens of the city can voice their opinions at the polls?

Why are unnamed “citizens” placing flyers on cars outside churches reflecting some of the biggest lies and the greatest deceptions that this city has ever seen? They say that they are “concerned” citizens. What are they concerned about? The money that they will lose/make?

Maybe they are concerned that this sleeping giant (Pine Bluff) will wake up and begin to access its power at the polls to unseat unscrupulous elected officials who appear to be in it more for personal gain than true concern for the well-being of all the citizens of our community. Do they think that we are blind and cannot see?

Joanna P. Edwards

Pine Bluff