Tuesday night when exit polls regarding the Alabama Senate special election became available, #BlackWomen began to trend on Twitter as it became evident that Democratic candidate Doug Jones had narrowly defeated Republican candidate Roy Moore.
Almost every Black woman who cast a vote — 98 percent — voted for Jones, according to CNN exit polls. Approximately 63 percent of white women voted for Moore, an accused sexual predator endorsed by President Donald Trump. Among women voters as a whole, Jones won by 16 points, 57 percent to 41 percent.
He fared much better than former President Barack Obama among white voters, “garnering 30 percent of their votes, twice the 15 percent who voted for Obama,” according to The Washington Post. “Jones made particularly large gains among white women and those with college degrees.”
Approximately 93 percent of Black men backed Jones, and as a whole, 96 percent of Blacks voted for him. A greater percentage of Blacks voted in the race between Jones and Moore than for two historic presidential elections.
According to CNN, 30 percent of the electorate was Black, which is a higher share than in the 2008 and 2012 elections, when Obama was a candidate. It is also greater than their 26 percent share of the population. Turnout was very high in heavily Black counties.
The stakes were high in this election, and Blacks in Alabama knew it. They were determined not to let Moore, who said in September, “I think [America] was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery,” usher in a retro agenda of bigotry.
Moore, endorsed by Trump, said amendments after the 10th "have completely tried to wreck the form of government that our forefathers intended."
As U.S. history demonstrates, shown profoundly in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., Black people prevail despite the odds. Blacks in Alabama had their vote count despite more restrictive voter ID laws.
Local chapters of the NAACP and voting rights organizations fought succinctly against structures in place that keep Black voters away from the polls by actions such as targeting awareness campaigns at people who might not have had proper identification.
A popular thread on Twitter talks about the actions of the NAACP for the Senate election. Here’s a portion:
2. The state NAACP instructed its local branches to call every registered voter in the state who did not vote in 2016. The Lower Alabama chapter made it through the entire list successfully.
— Al Giordano (@AlGiordano) December 12, 2017
4. What was last year an ad hoc effort by “a group of friends” to offer rides to the polls is today more than a dozen organizations doing rides-to-the-polls with resources for drivers.
— Al Giordano (@AlGiordano) December 12, 2017
The grassroots efforts used “immediately become a case study in how to do so in a region that has, since the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision curtailing the 1965 Voting Rights Act, become a bastion of new voter-suppression laws, including new voter-ID laws,” according to The Atlantic.
Doug Jones, African Americans and Birmingham
Carol Denise McNair, 11, and Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins and Cynthia Wesley, all age 14, were the four Black girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., on Sept. 15, 1963, at the hands of Ku Klux Klan members.
Jones, who grew up in the suburbs of Birmingham, was only nine years old when the act of domestic terrorism cost the young girls their lives. He later befriended the father of one of those girls, and almost 40 years later, as U.S. attorney in Alabama, Jones successfully brought charges against two of the Klansmen. On Tuesday, 54 years after that tragic day in Birmingham, he became Senator-elect of Alabama.
Last week, he tweeted that the most important thing he’s ever done was prosecute the Klansmen:
I may have the honor of serving Alabama as your senator, but the most important thing I have done is prosecuting those klansmen who killed 4 little girls at 16th St Baptist Church.https://t.co/b2CkvVdA0h
— Doug Jones (@GDouglasJones) November 9, 2017
Tuesday night after becoming Senator-elect, Jones quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
“I will tell you, tonight is a night for rejoicing because as Dr. King said, as Dr. King liked to quote, ‘The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice.’
“Tonight, tonight, ladies and gentlemen, tonight, tonight in this time, in this place, you helped bend that moral arc a little closer to that justice and you did it, not only was it bent more, not only was its aim truer but you sent it right through the heart of the great state of Alabama in doing so.”