Cold Cases archive at Emory University keeps the story alive.
Despite threats from the Ku Klux Klan in the run-up to the July 17 primary, Maceo Snipes took the bold step to become the first African American to cast a vote in Taylor County. What happened over the next several days in Butler and two hours away in Monroe, Georgia, would grab headlines across the nation, especially in the African-American press, and prompt a young Morehouse College student, Martin Luther King Jr., to write a letter of response to the editor of The Atlanta Constitution.
The day after Snipes voted, four white men arrived in a pick-up truck outside of his grandfather’s farmhouse, where Snipes and his mother Lula were having dinner. The men, rumored to be members of the local Klan chapter, called for Snipes, who came outside to meet them. During their encounter outside the house, Edward Williamson, who sometimes went by the name of Edward Cooper, shot Snipes in the back. Williamson, like Snipes, was a World War II veteran.
He would not be the last: In the end, five would be murdered, including a woman who was seven months pregnant. All for voting. Over the last few days I’ve read a lot of pieces about this—including some fairly offensive ones implying Democrats and Republicans are engaging in a “game.” Voting is not a game. Men and women in Georgia have lost their lives for the right to vote. They have marched. They have been shot. They have been hung from bridges. Seeing tweets that label it a “game” that both sides play prevents us from acknowledging the past.
Republicans are deciding they want to focus on the “again” portion of making America. That the importance is reliving the past—even the policies and inequalities. Instead of again, Democratic efforts are focusing on making America great for everyone. Now. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Now. We want to do everything we can to make America great as soon as we can. We want tomorrow to be greater than it is today, and we want today to be better than yesterday. “Again” isn’t an option. Those times have long passed and they should never return.
It’s too bad so many are so scared of people who live in their own district having the ability to vote.
EDIT: I removed a photo of lynching in the entry, as to avoid trigger issues. The story, however, may be triggering.