109-year-old Daughter of Slave Casts Vote for Obama

How far we've come in a single lifetime.

Amanda Jones, 109, the daughter of a man born into slavery, has lived a life long enough to touch three centuries. And after voting consistently as a Democrat for 70 years, she has voted early for the country's first black presidential nominee.

The middle child of 13, Jones, who is African American, is part of a family that has lived in Republican-leaning Bastrop County for five generations. The family has remained a fixture in Cedar Creek and other parts of the county, even when its members had to eat at segregated barbecue dives and walk through the back door while white customers walked through the front, said Amanda Jones' 68-year-old daughter, Joyce Jones.

Amanda Jones, a delicate, thin woman wearing golden-rimmed glasses, giggled as the family discussed this year's presidential election. She is too weak to go the polls, so two of her 10 children -- Eloise Baker, 75, and Joyce Jones -- helped her fill out a mail-in ballot for Barack Obama, Baker said. "I feel good about voting for him," Amanda Jones said.

Jones' father herded sheep as a slave until he was 12, according to the family, and once he was freed, he was a farmer who raised cows, hogs and turkeys on land he owned. Her mother was born right after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, Joyce Jones said. The family owned more than 100 acres of land in Cedar Creek at one point, she said.

Amanda Jones' father urged her to exercise her right to vote, despite discriminatory practices at the polls and poll taxes meant to keep black and poor people from voting. Those practices were outlawed for federal elections with the 24th Amendment in 1964, but not for state and local races in Texas until 1966.

Amanda Jones says she cast her first presidential vote for Franklin Roosevelt, but she doesn't recall which of his four terms that was. When she did vote, she paid a poll tax, her daughters said. That she is able, for the first time, to vote for a black presidential nominee for free fills her with joy, Jones said.

One of Amanda Jones' 33 grandchildren, Brenda Baker, 44, said the family is moved by the election's significance to the matriarch.

"It's awesome to me that we have such a pillar of our family still with us," Baker said. "It's awesome to see what she's done, and all her hard work, and to see that she may be able to see the results of all that hard work" if Obama is elected, she said.

From http://www.statesman.com/news/content/ne ws/stories/local/10/27/1027jones.html

Unrelated (but excellent) video after the jump


The cast of The Wire also want you to vote.

Tags: Barack Obama, slavery (all tags)

Comments

9 Comments

Think of Amanda Jones

And volunteer, call, donate.  Do whatever you can to make sure this doesn't slip away.  

by January 20 2008-10-28 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: 109-year-old Daughter of Slave Casts Vote for

10 children and 33 grandchildren! Wow!  And what a great new chapter in a long life!

I hope my life spans 3 centuries, but I'd have to make it to 116 and nearly 117.  (Those tests I've taken that evaluate my lifestyle have put me in the high 80s to low 90s, although at just 25 it's hard to gauge.)

by BlueEngineerInOhio 2008-10-28 07:49PM | 0 recs
Re: 109-year-old

I'll wish you luck but stop short of suggesting that Obama could lengthen the human lifespan.  For that I'm afraid you'll need a very different sort of Messiah.  

by January 20 2008-10-28 07:53PM | 0 recs
Re: 109-year-old

Wouldn't your WASILLA game essentially result in sobriety?

by tired of dynasties 2008-10-28 09:51PM | 0 recs
Sober

And I do miss my Booker's!

But the rules of the game change on the 4th.

by January 20 2008-10-28 10:26PM | 0 recs
Re: 109-year-old

In France the lifespan is 2 years longer than in the US... perhaps that has to do with our social security... perhaps with our diet... in any case public policies can have an impact on that.

by french imp 2008-10-28 10:41PM | 0 recs
Re: 109-year-old

I think it's the red wine.

by vadasz 2008-10-28 11:19PM | 0 recs
Re: 109-year-old

Nah. It's actually the cockiness and the hate of America we Frenchmen like so much.

Just kidding!

by Redolegna 2008-10-29 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: 109-year-old
Horror! If Obama wins we'll have no more reason to cling to life... You'll have a massive extinction of
old bitter american-hating frenchmen! Unless we still cling to the red wine bottle, that is...
by french imp 2008-10-29 02:34PM | 0 recs

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