January 6, 2021 Off By Michael

The Nation Moaned “Come On Georgia” — She Groaned and Stepped It Up Historically

Photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash A young John Lewis

The nation moaned and groaned, “Come on Georgia.” It became a rallying cry in the Senate runoff races because the outcome of the Georgia contest to seat two senators in the US Congress not only impacted the State of Georgia, but it also had national and international implications as well.

And boy, oh boy, did Georgia come through. She elected two senators on the same ballot for the first time in the history of the constitution. In 2018, Minnesota came close to achieving this feat when it held a special election to select a class two senator ( Tina Smith- Democratic-Farmer-Labor) on the same day that the General Election chose the level one senator (Amy Klobuchar-D).

Photo by Jennifer Griffin on Unsplash

Georgia topped her historical master stroke off by electing the first Black American (Rev. Raphael Warnock) and first Jewish American (Jon Ossoff) to occupy her two seats in the senate. Although, at this writing, Ossoff has not been declared the winner. He has a lead that grows increasingly difficult for his opponent to overcome.

Ambassador Andrew Young

Warnock, the pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pastored, had never run for public office. A prodigious Black voter turnout aided him in Macon-Bibb County, Georgia, which sent the first Black man to Congress (Jefferson Long 1870–1871). Long represented Georgia’s 4th Congressional District. He was the second Black American sworn into Congress, the first from Georgia and the last one until Ambassador Andrew Young was elected to Congress from Georgia’s 5th Congressional District a hundred years later in 1971.

A day before this historic election, Daryl Jones, a lawyer for the Transformative Justice Coalition, touted a secret weapon concealed by the Black community. He said the Black community had a ground game that the media was not aware of: “What they do not know, there is a ground game in the Black community and Black people are turning out.”

Along with the group’s founder Barbara Arnwine, Jones spent the last two months traveling throughout Georgia beating the war drums of “voting for justice.” Their message resonated with the millennial generation who found their raison d’être in the wanton killing of young Black men and women by cops and white vigilantes.

Stacey Abrams organization, Fair Fight, registered Black, and Brown voters. These new voters made the Warnock and Ossoff victories possible; Arnwine and Jones traveled throughout the smaller counties in Georgia encouraging minority voters to turn out for justice, whittling away at enormous margins, in heretofore, strongholds for Republican politicians. They worked in LaGrange, Valdosta, Bleckley, Smyrna, Columbus, and Augusta and surrounding counties.

During a voting for justice march in Early County, Georgia, Jones said demonstrators were met by white men in pickup trucks with bloodhounds in the bed of the truck. The whites protesting the Transformative Justice Coalition march attempted to prohibit their progress.

Attorney Daryl Jones

“They thought they were going to disrupt our march. But they did not realize their resistance made us march a little harder and shout a little louder.”

The 2020 Georgia senate runoff election, five days into 2021, ended in a climactic fashion. Now that Georgia has come through, what’s next for the state, for Black Lives Matter, for Biden’s plan to heal the nation’s wounds. Now, can we get a Black Attorney General, and if not, please not Sally Yates.

Lest we forget at the beginning of this century Yates hounded and prosecuted former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell essentially without any proof that he had engaged in a single corrupt act as mayor. Yate’s prosecution forced Campbell’s dying mother to endure seeing her son on trial in her waning days.

Oh no, the Blacks hands that picked these two senators because they thought they were voting for justice deserve better than an Attorney General who destroyed a popular Black mayor at a time when the Justice Department was targeting Black politicians to curb their power base in the Black community and their rise nationally.

These young voters are watching, they do not forgive an act of betrayal easily. If they do not see positive relief in matters related to Black lives, the Democratic Party can kiss their voting hands goodbye, perhaps never to return.

Harold Michael Harvey is the Living Now 2020 Bronze Medal winner for his memoir Freaknik Lawyer: A Memoir on the Craft of Resistance. He is a Past President of the Gate City Bar Association. He is the recipient of Gate City’s R. E. Thomas Civil Rights Award, which he received for his pro bono representation of Black college students arrested during Freaknik celebrations in the mid to late 1990s. Harvey is an engaging public speaker. Contact him at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com.