It’s National Voters Registration Day 2012!

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According to theGriot.com today, September 25, 2012, over 1100 organizations across this country will come together nationally to inform people about voting opportunities and get them registered to vote in time for the 2012 General Election!

This day reminds me of my 83 year old paternal great-grandmother, Birdie Elizabeth (Green) Aldridge, who I blogged about last year, being the talk of the town as her photo and comments about the 1971 election in Parsons, Labette County, Kansas were captured in their local newspaper. Momma Birdie (the name everyone called her) had not missed voting in an election (local or national) since she moved to Kansas from Texas in 1912. The reason for that she says is, “Voting is second only to worshiping God (to learn more about Momma Birdie, read —My Fearless Female Ancestor Who Made the News)!”

So why is this National Voters Registration Day 2012 so important?

It is no secret that voter suppression is still alive and well in this country, and poses a real threat to millions in this year’s presidential election. It has been reported that 17-21 states (mine included), have put in place strict photo ID laws which will literally prevent many young people and the elderly from being able to vote in this year’s election. States claim they put in place stricter photo ID laws to prevent voter fraud which they alleged happened in various counties during the 2008 election. Yet, when it comes to states proving voter fraud actually took place, there has been no real hard evidence to back up their claims.

I believe the real reason for the stricter photo ID laws today is to prevent record numbers of minority voters from showing up at the polls as they did in 2008. According to the US Census Bureau,

“About 131 million people reported voting in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, an increase of 5 million from 2004, according to a new table package released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The increase included about 2 million more black voters, 2 million more Hispanic voters and about 600,000 more Asian voters, while the number of non-Hispanic white voters remained statistically unchanged.”

Just as my great-grandmother believed voting was next to worshiping God in importance, I believe this National Voters Registration Day is just as important as the November 6, 2012 general  election itself. And if my 83 year old great-grandmother made it to the polls in her physical condition (amputee due to crippling diabetes), then I know anyone with reasonably good health can find their way to the polls to vote in this year’s election!

For more information about voting in the United States, visit – USA.gov
For more information about voting in Texas visit — VoteTexas.org, an official government website created by the Office of the Texas Secretary of State to provide information to citizens a one-stop website regarding voting in Texas.

Please keep in mind that voter registration deadlines and early voting vary from state to state. So Texans, here are dates important to you:

Voter Registration Deadline  – October 9, 2012

Early Voting in Texas – October 22, 2012 – November 2, 2012

General 2012 Election – November 6, 2012

ATTENTION TEXANS:
Please, please, please, DO NOT wait until election day to find out if you’re registered to vote or not; to know who you’re voting for (trust me you are going to want to vote on other issues that appear on the ballot that will impact your life); to know where to go for early voting and/or voting in the general election. Learn the answers to ALL these frequently asked questions early by visiting VoteTexas.org today!

The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro by Frederick Douglass

“The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro” was a speech Frederick Douglass gave on July 5, 1852 at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence that was held at Rochester’s Corinthian Hall. He actually gives a biting oratory, in which he tells his audience, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” Actor Danny Glover reads abolitionist Frederick Douglass’s “Fourth of July Speech, 1852” as part of a reading from Voices of a People’s History of the United States (Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove) in Los Angeles, CA; enjoy!

 

A speech given at Rochester’s Corinthian Hall
New York, July 5, 1852

“Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens:

He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country school houses, avails me nothing on the present occasion. Read the rest of this speech  . . .

Tuesday’s Tip: On Your Mark, Get Set, Ready … GO – 1940 Census here we come!

We are just a week away from the release of the 1940 Census and thanks to the National Archives, they have setup a direct link to the 1940 Census records at http://www.archives.gov/research/census/1940/ and a brief, yet informative video I’ve posted below, for anyone planning to access these records on April 2, 2012.

 

So why is the 1940 Census so special?

This census describes our country during the Great Depression, which began when Wall Street crashed, October 1929. According to Wikipedia.org, This crash “. . . marked the beginning of a decade of high unemployment, poverty, low profits, deflation, plunging farm incomes, and lost opportunities for economic growth and personal advancement.”

So what can you and I do right now to prepare for the grand opening of the 1940 Census?

We can begin by:

  1. Making a list of all the people (our ancestors, their parents, siblings, cousins, etc.) we want to look up in the 1940 Census.
  2. Collecting as many addresses as possible for these people by referring to:
    • City Directories
    • 1930 Census
    • World War II Draft Records
    • Naturalization Petitions
  3.  Identifying the Enumeration District (ED) where our ancestors lived.What are Enumeration Districts? These are geographical areas of a city or county that were assigned to a census taker.To locate the Enumeration Districts where our ancestors’ lived, go to the National Archives’ Online Public Access Search (OPA) at http://www.archives.gov/research/search/.
    To look up an Enumeration District, type –
    1940 census enumeration district description + the county + the state
    To look up an Enumeration District Map, type –
    1940 census maps + the county + the state. Another option for locating an Enumeration District is to visit Steve Morse’s website at http://stevemorse.org/census/ed2040.php?state=&year=1940 to access his free tool for converting a 1930 Census ED to a 1940 Census ED in one step.
  4. Accessing a blank copy of the 1940 Census forms below to become familiar with the various questions asked by census takers on that form:
    Blank 1940 Census Form
    Fillable 1940 Census Form

For more information and free resources for Genealogist at the National Archives, visit them online at http://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy/

Happy Researching!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – #1 Songs

It’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with genealogy extraordinaire – Randy Seaver and tonight’s activity will definitely have us strolling down memory lane! Tonight’s challenge is:

What were the #1 songs on the day I was born? Or on your birthday when you were 18? Or when you married? Or some other important date in your life.”

This is my first time participating in the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge and hopefully (as time allows), it won’t be my last; so here goes!

According to the, “This Day In Music” website, the #1 song in the United States on the day I was born was  — Santo & Johnny Farina classic instrumental hit, “Sleep Walk!” Check out their 1959 live performance below!

And . . . in keeping with my soulful roots, I couldn’t resist knowing what the #1 R&B song was the day I was born too. So according to Billboard Magazine, the #1 R&B hit single in the United States the week I was born was, I Want to Walk You Home” by Fats Domino . . .  woo-hoo! Too bad this one wasn’t playing in the background during my delivery  – LOL! Enjoy Fats Domino’s performance!