22 Mar 2012
- Written by William Larsha
Just as I supported in year 1974, and in the years 2006, 2008 and 2010 the ‘‘fair-ism’’ of electing a black Tennessee person to the U.S. Congress, so do I still support the election of a black Tennessee person to the United States Congress.
During the early days of the 1970’s census taking time (redistricting), Tennessee had never elected a black to serve in the U.S. Congress. Although white lawmakers, at the time, had the power to create another white district by gerrymandering Tennessee’s Congressional District 8 (later became District 9), they instead left it a majority black populated district so that blacks could register themselves and make the district a majority black Congressional district.
In 1972, blacks failed to register enough votes to elect a black. But in 1974, they were successful and elected Harold Ford Sr. congressman, and for some three decades blacks in Congressional District 9 enjoyed having taxation with black representation.
But as it was during the 2006 primary election, when a multiplicity of black Democratic Party candidates running against a non-black candidate and lost, election 2012 may find many black candidates in District 9 running against a single non-black candidate who could win and leave Tennessee once more with no black in Congress.
Secondly, the majority-vote Republican legislature in Nashville may make Congressional District 9 a majority white district. They may redistrict to give blacks in Congressional District 9 the largest number of voters (say 49 percent), but not a majority black district – of at least 51 percent. Republican legislators could make it possible for white voters and ‘‘voters other than black’’ to join forces and create a majority-winning vote.
However, there are two kinds of actions that supporters of a black Congressperson can take:
(1) Appeal, (during the primary election of 2012) to every voter in Tennessee’s 9th Congressional district, non-black and black voter, to honor fairness and to vote to elect ‘‘just one black’’ – for one of the eleven Tennessee seats in Congress.
(2) Hold a convention, initiated by Ninth Congressional district supporters of ‘‘just one black,’’ for the purpose of selecting a consensus candidate to run for Tennessee’s 9th Congressional seat.
However, any black consensus candidate movement initiated would meet opposition. Beware then – and be prepared to ignore those who would cry that such an initiative is divisive, anti-Semitic, and racist. They will use what propaganda tools they feel necessary to demonize any black or black group who would participate in a black congressional candidate movement. They will tell you that the race of a candidate doesn’t matter.
They will even claim that pastors and ministers will violate ‘‘separation of Church and State’’ when they support the establishment of a black congressional district. ‘‘Not true.’’ Not when the clergy participates in a movement to assure that at least one Tennessee congressional district is reserved for the election of an African American.
Nevertheless, in the last three elections for congress, Steve Cohn a white American, won the 9th Congressional district seat. But in each of Cohen’s campaigns, I was declared by some as a black racist or anti-Semitic for supporting the election of a black U.S. Congressperson.
Let it be known by all. I do not hate Congressman Steve Cohn because he is Jewish. I do not hate Jews. As a matter of fact, I praise Jewish forces, who through the years, have taken the initiative to make Memphis a better city economically, educationally and socially.
Also, I am not anti-Semitic. I do not oppose the efforts of Jews to again establish a homeland in the Middle East. As a matter of fact, I am of a race of people whose religion, for the most part, is in the name of Jesus Christ, a Jew. And a homeland for Jews in the Middle East is a religious home for ‘‘We’’ black Americans.
Some blacks said that they voted to elect Steve Cohen congressman because it was a way to pay Jews back for the many good things Jews have done for blacks. I believe in paying back. But Tennessee’s Congressional District 9 is precious and far too precious to be used as ‘‘payback.’’