Portrait: These Alabama voters elected Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate

December 13, 2017  •  5 Comments

alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270119alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270119Quenetta Gunn - Alabama voters elect Doug Jones to U.S. Senate, defeating Roy Moore for Congress - Birmingham, AL - Dec 12, 2017 - Portraits by by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford

Quenetta Gunn, a 33 year-old African American mother of two, was in high school when Doug Jones successfully prosecuted members of the Ku Klux Klan who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. It had been nearly 40 years since a group of white supremacists detonated dynamite sticks at the church, killing four young black girls, injuring 22, and described by Martin Luther King Jr., as "one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.” For four decades, two of the four klansmen had escaped justice.

PHOTOS AND WORDS BY SEAN RAYFORD

alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270117alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270117Barry Bell - Alabama voters elect Doug Jones to U.S. Senate, defeating Roy Moore for Congress - Birmingham, AL - Dec 12, 2017 - Portraits by by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford BARRY BELL - GADSDEN, AL

So when it came time to vote for a new U.S. Senator yesterday, Quenetta Gunn remembered that Jones had led that charge for justice. Gunn wasn’t caught up in the hoopla surrounding Jones’ opponent, Ray Moore, who had been accused by multiple women of sexual predation. “I don’t know of everything that they say to be true,” she said after casting a vote as her boys played on the playground at Avondale Park in the Southside neighborhood of Birmingham, “I was leaning more towards him anyway.”

In September at a campaign rally in Florence, AL, when Jones’ opponent was asked about when America was last great, Moore explained, “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery. They cared for one another. People were strong in the families. Our families were strong. Our country had a direction.”

alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270125alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270125Alabama voters elect Doug Jones to U.S. Senate, defeating Roy Moore for Congress - Birmingham, AL - Dec 12, 2017 - Portraits by by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford DAVEY WILLIAMS - BIRMINGHAM, AL

Yesterday, for the first time in 25 years, the people of Alabama elected a democrat to represent them in the U.S. Senate. Leading that charge, 96 percent of African American voters cast ballots for Jones.

“Given that this state is red completely but it's not far fetched for a democrat to have some say in the southern states as well. I think it will be the dawn of a new era. It's like the tides are turning again,” said Gunn, hours before polls closed on Tuesday.

 

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alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270121alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270121Alabama voters elect Doug Jones to U.S. Senate, defeating Roy Moore for Congress - Birmingham, AL - Dec 12, 2017 - Portraits by by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford ROBERT CARROLL - BIRMINGHAM, AL

alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270124alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270124Alabama voters elect Doug Jones to U.S. Senate, defeating Roy Moore for Congress - Birmingham, AL - Dec 12, 2017 - Portraits by by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford JORDAN LAWRENCE - BIRMINGHAM, AL

alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270127alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270127Alabama voters elect Doug Jones to U.S. Senate, defeating Roy Moore for Congress - Birmingham, AL - Dec 12, 2017 - Portraits by by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford   MICHAEL HAGGARD JONES - ATTALA, AL

alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270122alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270122Alabama voters elect Doug Jones to U.S. Senate, defeating Roy Moore for Congress - Birmingham, AL - Dec 12, 2017 - Portraits by by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford THOMAS WILBANKS - BIRMINGHAM, AL

alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270126alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270126Alabama voters elect Doug Jones to U.S. Senate, defeating Roy Moore for Congress - Birmingham, AL - Dec 12, 2017 - Portraits by by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford NEKO LINDA WILLIAMS - BIRMINGHAM, AL

alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270118alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270118Kai Fortune - Alabama voters elect Doug Jones to U.S. Senate, defeating Roy Moore for Congress - Birmingham, AL - Dec 12, 2017 - Portraits by by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford KAI FORTUNE - BIRMINGHAM, AL

alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270123alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270123Alabama voters elect Doug Jones to U.S. Senate, defeating Roy Moore for Congress - Birmingham, AL - Dec 12, 2017 - Portraits by by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford LAUREN CRANDALL - BIRMINGHAM, AL

alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270120alabama voters elect Doug Jones for Senate photos 270120Alabama voters elect Doug Jones to U.S. Senate, defeating Roy Moore for Congress - Birmingham, AL - Dec 12, 2017 - Portraits by by Columbia SC photographer Sean Rayford

ANDRE AMISON - BIRMINGHAM, AL

(Andre did not disclose who he voted for)

 

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Comments

Peter Mallett, Victoria, B.C.(non-registered)
True American heroes! Gives hope to the rest of us. Nice concept, great photo gallery.
Lee Anne Leland(non-registered)
Together we rise
Michelle Edgar(non-registered)
It’s wonderful to see the commonality of fellow citizens that made such a huge difference in Alabama shared, with their stories, here to us in SC. This really spreads hope! Thanks for all you do, Sean!
Lee Ann Kornegay(non-registered)
Sean! These images are so powerful! Thank you for being in important places during important times.
Outstanding.
Scott(non-registered)
These are completely amazing… And the way you went about getting the photos is inspiring. Truly poignant and intensely moving.
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