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A half century ago this month the Thomasville (GA) Sheriff told me to leave Georgia and NEVER COME BACK.

At the time I was working in the watermelon and tobacco fields owned by some distant rich relatives on my mom's side. One day I was sent with the crew into town to load our melons into a semi and then lunch at a Jim Crow walk-up dinner in the small town. The procedure was that each of the other field hands (blacks) were to give me their order and money. Then I was to make the food orders to the white owner and cooks at the White's Only window so we didn't have to wait so long.

It started with Lewis wanting a cheeseburger with mustard and chips, he handed me two dollars. Next Louis wanted a plain burger and a large coke. He handed me $1.56 because that's all he had. At that point I said 'wait a f'ing minute. I'm not going to be the waitress and cashier for this group. I only have a dollar and change and 30 minutes to eat my lunch'. I told the staunch old biddies in that cramped dinner that each of these guys were going to order and pay for their to-go meals individually and I was eating last, after everyone else was served.

The rest of the lunch was uneventful. Shortly after returning to the fields the foreman (a distant cousin) mentioned to me in passing that 'You've become a real hero here today, Russell told me what happened in town'. Russell was a much older man who had seen his share of heartache and grief. He'd served in the Navy in WWII and had gained a reputation as a very talented middle weight boxer. He wanted to train me to box in our off time. We worked from sun up to sun down 6 days a week. On the 7th day we'd lay in the shade and eat chicken like the Lord commanded. We had no off time to speak of.

The local LE took notice when I started attending the same churches as my fellow workers. An unspeakable sin in the deep south mid '60s. There I would speak up about the importance of voting, taking control of their communities, electing people who would represent them.

It was quite the education in regards to how much effect one person can make, even a 16 year old snot nosed kid exiled to the family penal colony in deep south Georgia.

Everyone can make a difference.

If you feel too shy to go door to door yourself contact your local League of Women Voters and ask if you could tag along or escort those who are knocking on doors. Their response to me has been amazing. The wonderfully brave ladies going up to stranger's doors are very appreciative of having a scared old war horse like me by their sides. They've said it has changed the dialogue and temperament tremendously. I don't really do anything other than provide a bit more courage factor for these amazing volunteers. Get involved! Please!

I'd knock on doors myself but ya'll know how shy I am.

TRY IT. YOU'LL LIKE IT!!!

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Originally posted to Gordon20024 on Sun Aug 03, 2014 at 04:36 PM PDT.

Also republished by Support the Dream Defenders and Virginia Kos.

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