I believe in aliens, UFOs, and have binge-watched The Outlanders. I am a futurist and an extraterrestrial junkie. And yes, I absolutely feel that I am a Time Traveler.
Today, I am thinking of my mother's beloved elementary teacher, Ms. Hariette Moore. She and her husband Mr. Harry T. Moore were activists in the 1930s and were murdered by the Klan in Mims, Florida on December 25, 1951.
I never met her, but through my mom’s eyes and memories, I know her. She inspired my mother’s love of literature and public speaking. The Klan blew up their house, and her class never forgot the horrible feeling of her not returning from the Christmas vacation to teach.
According to the Zinn Education Project, the Moore’s launched a legal struggle that eventually won equal pay for Black and White teachers. In 1941, Harry became President and later executive director of the Florida state NAACP. Under their leadership, the NAACP eventually grew to more than 10,000 members in more than 60 branches across the state.
Today, I awoke feeling I had traveled back in time and was reliving all the stories told by my grandparents and parents about the issues Blacks faced while trying to vote. How could it be that we still face many of the same problems that Hariette and Harry rallied against over 70 years ago?
Ferocious dogs, water hoses, torched Freedom Rider buses, literacy tests, poll taxes, voter intimidation, lynchings, and straight-up murder are things of the past right?
In the words of my grandma Bay (Martha), racist people do not go away, they just hide it better.
On the eve of the election, I am reminded of key 2020 events that made me think I had traveled back to earlier times: a peaceful group rallying to vote in North Carolina was pepper-sprayed while kneeling, a man arrested in Texas by police on horses was roped like cattle and paraded through the streets, a caravan of Trump vehicles disrupted traffic in New Jersey and New York, and surrounded a Biden bus in Texas and tried to run it off the road.
Why am I so scared and anxious? I cannot think, focus, or turn off the TV. I just heard that they will throw out thousands of ballots in the south for signatures that don’t match and the post office can’t get the ballots over to the elections boards to process. I can hear Fannie Lou Hamer saying, "Linda, don’t worry, I failed the literacy test twice and when I finally passed it they hit me with a poll tax. Girl, we got this, the vote angels are on it."
The evidence is overwhelming that I am a Time Traveler because none of this could possibly be happening in 2020, but it is. So no matter what happens, I will not forget and have started to share the story of the Moore’s and all those who sacrificed with my daughter. We must connect our kids to the past the way my parents and grandparents did, so they will understand why voting is not an option but an obligation.
I am the daughter of Rufus and Claudia Spradley from West Palm Beach, Florida; the granddaughter of Bob and Martha Spradley from Moultrie, Georgia; and also James and Ida Mae Williams from Pleasant City, Florida; the great-granddaughter of Phoebe and Lee Spradley from Old Bakers County, Georgia; and also Leola and Henry Mitchell from Pleasant City Florida; and the great-great-granddaughter of Samuel and Ellen Stephens from the Carolinas. I also salute Floridians Mr. Harry and Mrs. Henrietta Moore and Ms. Mary McLeoud Bethune; I voted with defiance and dignity for them. I am Dunn Talking.