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Stockton NAACP Urges Community to Vote in Special Election on Sept. 14

While August 30 was the last day to register, Californians can still conditionally register at any vote center.

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Hand holding an "I Voted" sticker; Stock Photo

With a special election to recall democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom less than a week away, the president of the Stockton Branch of the NAACP is encouraging all eligible citizens to vote on September 14. “It’s one of the only ways you ensure your voice will be heard,” he said.

The branch president, Bobby Bivens, sat down with The Post News Group publisher Paul Cobb to help make sure registered and even unregistered citizens know how to vote safe and exercise their civic duty.

“While August 30 was the last day to register, Californians can still conditionally register at any vote center. This step can be taken any time in the run-up to the election and includes Election Day as well. The bottom line is that those Californians still wishing to vote can do so,” said Bivens.

Bivens also shared that the best way to ensure your vote counts is by dropping off your ballot at a vote center. It must be delivered by the time polls close – 8:00 p.m. – on September 14. If you are mailing your ballot, all you have to do is ensure that it is postmarked before September 14 and received by your county elections office no later than September 21.

Bivens said that you can track your ballot by using the BallotTrax tool, available at https://california.ballottrax.net/voter/. ; this easy-to-use tracker will allow you to see the status of your vote, including when it has been counted.

To see the full interview go to our @oaklandpostnews Facebook page.

The Stockton Post’s coverage of local news in San Joaquin County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

African American News & Issues

Oakland, Stand Up and Be Counted in This Recall Election

At a vote center, you can vote in person, get help in multiple languages, cast your vote by using an accessible voting machine, and utilize same day registration and cast your ballot Voters can vote at any center in the county up to 10 days before Election Day.

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Election Mail in Ballot

In the next two weeks, we all have a decision to make that will shape California for years to come. The recall election is currently underway and on election day, Sept. 14,  the votes cast will decide not just the future of Gov. Gavin Newsom, but that of the whole state.

As your Oakland NAACP president, I encourage all registered voters of our community to get out and vote, either by mail or at the polls. The NAACP, which has been fighting for the right to vote for Black Americans for over a century, is today bringing a state-wide message to all Californians – no matter who you choose, vote in this election for your future, and for your community. If you are not registered, it’s not too late to register to vote in person.

The recall ballot, asks two questions. The first question asks if you support recalling (removing) Gov. Newsom. If more than 50% support the recall, Newsom will be removed from office. The second question lists all the recall candidates vying to be governor. Whoever gets the most votes will hold the office through January 2023, the remainder of Newsom’s term.

Whether Newsom remains or is replaced, whoever is declared governor after election day will have authority to make important decisions that impact your lives and your access to important services — like funding for our public schools and how the state taxes you pay are used to support state programs.

The outcome of this election will decide who manages the budget of the world’s 5th largest economy. It will determine the path we take on problems like housing affordability and homelessness, or the historic drought and wildfires we’ve seen this past year. And that’s just to name a few.

The Oakland NAACP wants the community to understand that its vote has power and that it is critical to ensuring our democracy works. We learned that from those that preceded us, people like James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, three activists associated with the Congress Of Racial Equality (CORE), who were abducted and viciously murdered in Mississippi in 1964 during the civil rights movement. Their sacrifice — alongside countless other racial equity fighters — is a reminder that the right to vote as a US citizen can never be taken for granted.

Thankfully, our state makes voting so convenient that there is no excuse for anyone not to vote. In 2016, California lawmakers passed the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA). The VCA expanded early voting in Alameda County. Traditional polling places have been replaced with vote centers which serve as a one-stop shops for all your voting needs.

At a vote center, you can vote in person, get help in multiple languages, cast your vote by using an accessible voting machine, and utilize same day registration and cast your ballot Voters can vote at any center in the county up to 10 days before Election Day.

All registered Alameda County voters have been sent a ballot in the mail. Returned ballots have already been counted. The deadline for registering or re-registering for the recall election was Monday, Aug. 30. If you missed the deadline, you can “conditionally” register and vote at any vote center after the voter registration deadline, up to and including Election Day.

The Secretary of State website also offers a tool to help you find early voting and ballot drop-off locations in your neighborhood. You can use the BallotTrax tool to confirm that your vote has been counted.

Too many fought for too long for our right to vote for us to pass it up. You have a choice to make – take this chance to shape our futures.

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Black History

Langston Hughes: Renaissance Poet and Writer

African American writers and poets have for years openly challenged cultural stigmas, creating classic works of literature. Many have earned Pulitzer and Nobel prizes, NAACP and Coretta Scott King Book awards among other honors. 

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Langston Hughes/Photo courtesy of Tamara Shiloh

African American writers and poets have for years openly challenged cultural stigmas, creating classic works of literature. Many have earned Pulitzer and Nobel prizes, NAACP and Coretta Scott King Book awards among other honors. 

Among these literary giants stands James Mercer Langston Hughes (1902–1967), whose poetry and other writings made him a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

Born in Joplin, Mo., Langston Hughes’s parents separated shortly after he was born. His father relocated to Mexico, and the child was raised by his mother and grandmother. After his grandmother died, he and his mother eventually settled in Cleveland.

Hughes began experimenting with poetry during grammar school. His work was so well liked that he was elected class poet. He stated that “in retrospect,” he thought it was because of the stereotype about African Americans “having rhythm.”

It was summer after he graduated from high school that he penned “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” Published in The Crisis (1921), a piece that brought him considerable attention and put it his work on the path to being noticed.

That same year Hughes enrolled in New York City’s Columbia College. He left a year later, citing “racial prejudice among students and teachers” as one of the reasons. He describes his first interaction at Columbia as “largely isolating and exclusionary.” In his autobiography Big Sea, he opens a chapter with “I didn’t like Columbia.” 

He would later build a relationship with the university––after he became a prominent writer.

After Columbia, Hughes remained in Harlem while working and continuing to write. In 1925, he won an Opportunity magazine poetry prize. Writer Carl Van Vechten then introduced Hughes’s poetry to the publisher Alfred A. Knopf. 

“The Weary Blues “was published in 1926.

Hughes also spent time in Washington, D.C., where he worked as a hotel busboy. As poet Vachel Lindsay sat in the hotel’s dining room, Hughes placed three of his own poems beside Lindsay’s plate. The following day, several newspapers reported that Lindsay had “discovered” an African-American busboy poet. Later that year, Hughes received a scholarship to Lincoln University. 

He also received the Witter Bynner Undergraduate Poetry Award and published “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” in The Nation.

In 1926, Hughes published a second collection of poetry, “Fine Clothes to the Jew.” It faced great criticism from the Black press. By 1929, he had helped launch the influential magazine Fire!! His first prose volume, “Not Without Laughter” was published in 1930. He traveled in the American South in 1931, then to the Soviet Union, Haiti, Japan, and other countries; and served as a newspaper correspondent (1937) during the Spanish Civil War.

Hughes published countless other works during the 1950s and 1960s, including several books in his series “Simple.” He won several awards including the Anisfeld-Wolfe Award for best book on racial relations, the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, the Golden Harmon Award and the Guggenheim Fellowship.

Hughes continued writing until he died in 1967.

Sources:  https://www.biography.com/writer/langston-hughes
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Langston-Hughes
https://allpoetry.com/Langston-Hughes

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Black History

Lucille Times, Who Inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dies at 100

Lucille Alicia Sharpe was born on April 22, 1921, in Hope Hull, a community outside Montgomery.

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Lucille Times, Photo courtesy of Troy University

Lucille Times, whose encounter with a bus driver in Montgomery, Ala., in June 1955 led her to begin a one-woman boycott of the city’s public transportation, an act of defiance that inspired a mass boycott six months later after another Black woman, Rosa Parks, was charged with defying the same bus driver, died on Aug. 16 at the home of her nephew Daniel Nichols. She was 100.

Mr. Nichols, with whom she had been living for several years, said the cause was complications of Covid-19.

Mrs. Times was driving to the dry cleaners on June 15, 1955, when she got into an altercation with James Blake, the bus driver, who tried to push her car off the road three times. She continued on her errand, but he followed her.

Parking his bus across the street, he ran over to her and yelled, “You Black son of a bitch!” she recalled in a 2017 interview.

She immediately replied, “You white son of a bitch!” and the two started fighting. At one point she bit him on the arm.

Suddenly she felt a blow to her neck. She looked down and saw the high boots of a motorcycle police officer, who had hit her with his flashlight.

The officer took Mr. Blake aside, then turned to her.

“‘Do you know that was a white man you called a white son of a bitch?’” she recalled him saying. “I said, ‘Do you know I’m a Black woman that he called a Black son of a bitch?’”

The officer let her off with a warning, telling her that if she had been a man, he would have “beat my head to jelly,” she said.

Mrs. Times drove away, furious. “My blood was almost boiling,” she said. “I didn’t even take my clothes into the dry cleaners.”

At home her husband, Charlie, had already heard about the incident. Together they called E.D. Nixon, the head of the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter, and asked what they could do. He came over that night.

As a child, she had taken part in a boycott of a butcher shop in Detroit, where she was visiting relatives, and she suggested to Mr. Nixon that the city’s Black community could do the same. He agreed, but said the time wasn’t right — they would need money, cars and other supplies to make it happen. He asked her to have patience.

She called the city bus company to complain, but no one responded. She sent letters to The Montgomery Advertiser and The Atlanta Journal, but they refused to print them. She decided not to wait.

Over the next six months, she operated her own boycott, driving to bus stops and offering free rides to Black passengers waiting to board. Charlie, with whom she ran a cafe across from their house, collected money for gas, and they used the cafe as a planning hub — people could call Charlie to arrange a ride, and he would assemble a schedule for his wife.

“Lucille was loaded for bear, and she wouldn’t back down from nothing,” Mr. Nichols said. “She was full steam ahead.”

On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a seamstress and activist in the Montgomery N.A.A.C.P., boarded Mr. Blake’s bus and sat in the front section, which was reserved for white riders. When he ordered her to move to the back, she refused, and was arrested. Four days later, the Montgomery Improvement Association, formed in coordination with the N.A.A.C.P. and led by a 26-year-old preacher, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., announced a citywide boycott.

The Timeses participated in the boycott, which lasted over a year and helped lead to the end of segregation on the city’s public transportation.

“You’ve got to fight,” Mrs. Times said in 2017.  “You don’t get nothing for free. I’ve been a fighter all of my days.”

Lucille Alicia Sharpe was born on April 22, 1921, in Hope Hull, a community outside Montgomery. Her mother, Jamie (Woodley) Sharpe, died when she was young, and Lucille and her five siblings were raised by her father, Walter Sharpe. They later moved to Montgomery, though she lived for stretches of time with relatives in Chicago and Detroit.

She married Charlie Times in 1939 and later received a bachelor’s degree from Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Mr. Times served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and when he returned, they opened the Times Cafe. It became a social hub for the city’s Black community.

It was also a center for civil rights activism. The Timeses joined the N.A.A.C.P. in the 1940s, and after Alabama outlawed the organization in 1956, they let Mr. Nixon use their home for secret meetings.

The Timeses remained active in the movement, participating in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery and hosting 18 other marchers, Black and white, at their home. Mr. Times died in 1978.

Despite her signature role in the origins of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Mrs. Times was for decades unrecognized for her contribution. Troy King, a former attorney general of Alabama who became friends with her in the 2010s, speculated that it was because her outspokenness ran against the image of civil rights protesters as quiet and reserved.

“She was like an iron fist in a velvet glove,” Mr. King, now in private practice, said in an interview. “She didn’t get pushed around.”

At one point he invited her to speak to his daughter’s fourth-grade class, which was studying Alabama history. Though Mrs. Times had trouble speaking because a stroke had left her vocal cords partially paralyzed, she managed to narrate her tale, peppering it with profanity and racial epithets, shocking students and teachers.

“It was exceptionally jarring, but it left an impression that they will never forget,” Mr. King said.

Mrs. Times did eventually receive some local recognition. In 2007, her house was placed on the Alabama Registry of Landmarks and Heritage, and the state placed historic markers in front of her home and the building that once housed the Times Cafe.

Her neighbors also created a community garden in her honor and named it for her and Mr. Nixon. In April they held a 100th birthday party for her, but she was unable to attend because of the pandemic.

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