The first Election Day

This old timey ballot box looks like Isaac made it. It’s on sale on eBay for $385.00.

I reflected upon the range of “first” Election Days in the wake of the variety of reactions this week.  We know that the expanse of suffrage occurred slowly over time.   Still, in my depiction of the “first” Election Day for the formerly enslaved men of Milford, I chose to see that day as a day of celebration. It was a day where they were being counted in this country, not as 3/5 of a person but as a voice.

Virgil Smithson is appointed as mayor over Milford, by Mrs. Milford, when in the wake of the Civil War, she decides to draw Milford as a town. Virgil is responsible for taking the papers to the then state capitol of Georgia, Milledgeville, to certify the founding of Milford, Georgia and to attest that he is the mayor of said town. It is one of the first times when he is able to use his signature, the one that his wife Amanda taught him to write.
That scene in The Preacher’s Promise is meant to represent the hope that Virgil feels in the new day coming as a result of the end of slavery. So just as that scene in Milledgeville is central in The Preacher’s Promise, so too is the Election Day scene in the upcoming The Mayor’s Mission. I hope that these depictions of the expansion of rights helps everyone to remember that there was a time when very few of us were able to vote. My scene set on the “first” Election Day was able to happen because of the Reconstruction Act of 1867. Many Americans were still left out on that “first” Election Day in April 1868. In Georgia’s case, the legitimacy of the election was not certain until the passage of the fifteenth amendment in 1870–an issue that haunts Virgil’s election to the state legislature.  Still,  the commemoration represented a new beginning. No matter what our political beliefs, we would do well to remember who came before and to keep it a festive day.

6 thoughts on “The first Election Day

  1. I would love to see your books made into a movie
    When will mayor mission be release I’m waiting patiently
    Thank you ms piper huguley i

  2. This is an always timely reminder about voting. I feel heartened whenever I see photos of people (Americans or in other countries voting.) Being able to chart your own life is an important human right.

    I had time to reflect on this during this past election. In Albuquerque, we don’t vote in local precincts. There are voting centers set up all over the city. You go to whichever one you wish, and the polling officials print out the ballot for your precinct. You take it and fill in the little circles before submitting it into a scanning machine. I waited at one site 40 minutes before voting, but other sites had at least two hour waits. It gave me a chance to think about those Iraquis with the purple fingers or the long lines I’d seen at other countries.

    You’re right. Don’t overlook our chance to speak. Not everyone before us or even today can.

    • Well said Louise! I had wondered if people had been thinking about this in the same way I did this past week, no matter what the outcome. I hope this little post serves as a reminder. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. This was very timely, Piper. In the recent mid-term election so many people stayed home. I think people have forgotten that voting isn’t just something one needs to do for a Presidential election. There are very sobering repercussions to POC staying home last week and not exercising the right that people fought so hard to achieve. I love how you show the celebratory aspects of voting and the hope the characters feel. You have a very keen ability to allow the reader to feel the hopes and dreams of your characters, which is not an easy feat.

    • Thank you so much for this insight, Belle. People need to remember the point of the exercise, and not just take pride or feel disappointment at the result. I appreciate your kind words and I hope you will still feel the same way after you read the scene! Thank you for stopping by!

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