The Future of Rural North Carolina Isn’t Written on a Ballot

November 19, 2018

Folks were slow in coming.

The party was supposed to start at noon, but only a dozen volunteers milled around next to Children’s Chapel United Church of Christ. The foil was still tight over the barbecue trays, resting under an overcast October sky.

A half-mile away, past aging, stately homes and more modest brick houses decked in Halloween scares, a steady stream of shoppers ambled around Graham, North Carolina’s historic square, buying Simply Southern T-shirts and visiting the yoga studio and grabbing lunch at Sutton’s Drug Store or the Graham Soda Shop. A quiet Sunday—until the church yard began to fill up.

They came in fits and starts, friends in matching T-shirts spilling out of cars. And they were here to make a scene.

This was a Party to the Polls. Members of Down Home North Carolina (DHNC) and partner organizations came to march with Keith Sellars past the shoppers in Graham’s historic square to an early voting location, where Sellars would cast a ballot for the first time since he was arrested for voting in 2016.

But the day was about much more than a ballot. It was about all the forces that are marshalled to arrest a Black man for voting, and about all the ways working-class communities are suffering under those forces. It was about coming together to build grassroots power, and about maintaining that well after the returns came in.

Read the rest at Scalawag.