African Americans and the Vote

In 1957, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind—it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact—I can only submit to the edict of others.”

In honor of Black History Month, your Library is hosting Dr. Daryl Carter on Thursday, February 20 at 6:30 p.m. for a lecture entitled “African Americans and the Vote.” Dr. Carter is an associate professor of history at ETSU who specializes in American politics in the 20th and 21st centuries. He will speak about the political intersection of civil rights and voting rights throughout U.S. history.

Dr. Carter says it’s important to study our country’s history of race relations and voting rights because it can help inform our decisions today. “Everyone should learn about the power of participating in arguably the most sacred process we have: voting in elections that determine who will represent us in our local, state, and federal governments.”

Adult Services Librarian Lisa Williams is looking forward to Dr. Carter’s lecture because she says learning about civil and voting rights is especially important and relevant in East Tennessee and in an election year. Lisa explains, “In the 2016 presidential election, Tennessee had the fourth lowest voter turnout in the nation, and East Tennessee counties had the lowest turnout in the state. Learning about the long struggle disenfranchised people have had with voting can inspire us to cherish and exercise voting as a fundamental element of our democracy.”

For more information about Dr. Carter’s lecture, email Lisa Williams or call (423) 434-4356. Learn more about your Library’s programs, services, and collections by visiting www.jcpl.org, calling (423) 434-4450 or dropping by 100 West Millard Street. Follow Johnson City Public Library on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

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