Portrait: These Alabama voters elected Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate
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
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.”
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.
ROBERT CARROLL - BIRMINGHAM, AL
JORDAN LAWRENCE - BIRMINGHAM, AL
MICHAEL HAGGARD JONES - ATTALA, AL
THOMAS WILBANKS - BIRMINGHAM, AL
NEKO LINDA WILLIAMS - BIRMINGHAM, AL
KAI FORTUNE - BIRMINGHAM, AL
LAUREN CRANDALL - BIRMINGHAM, AL
ANDRE AMISON - BIRMINGHAM, AL
(Andre did not disclose who he voted for)
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