One Argument Martin Luther King Jr. had with my Dad, Hosea Williams
Authored by Elisabeth Omilami | Humanitarian
I’ve heard that Martin Luther King Jr. did not want my dad, Hosea Williams, to march this time. Hosea had led many marches across the southeast by then; he was hired by Martin King because of his success in organizing and leading working people to march. Hosea was sent to this small Southern town to manage the movement there until Dr. King could get there. They had a phone call about the rising sentiment of the people there, especially about the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson and the decision was that it was too dangerous to lead the people. But, the decision had already been made by the people for the people, exacerbated by the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson and a march was going to take place, with or without leadership from SCLC. The people were hurt, angry and they were ready to march, and they were going forward. Rev. Williams had no choice really.
Who knew that the decision of Rev. Williams to lead that march that day would lead to a Voting Rights Law that would change the face of politics in this country for years to come? “Bloody Sunday” created the road to our right to vote. Even if you feel “nobody cares about your vote” and “voting doesn’t matter,” please vote, because blood calls out to you to vote.
Vote because the ancestors who were stopped from registering by being asked “how many bubbles are in a bar of soap?” or “how many jellybeans are in this jar?”, pressed on past the surreal ridiculousness of those moments and registered, deserve it. Vote, because if you care about Social Security, Food Stamps, Section 8 Housing, school lunches or a livable wage for Americans, all those things and more lie on the ballot this year. Vote, because Hosea Williams led them through the blood on “Bloody Sunday,” through the horses and batons on the head, and through the storm of racism and hate. Vote, because some people don’t believe we should vote, because they think we don’t matter.
There is a rising sentiment among working Americans that their vote doesn’t matter. When you can’t feed your family, provide decent housing for them, earn a livable wage and make it past the ceiling of poverty and lack, it’s hard to imagine that a trip on a certain day to a poll matters; but, it does. Especially, when that vote is followed-up by a consistent and thorough monitoring of the actions of those you put in office.
Wash away the blood with your ballot on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020. As Frederick Douglas said, “If nothing is expected of a people, that people will find it difficult to contradict that expectation. The end of slavery lies with the ballot.”
Thank you and thank you for reading this one.
Elisabeth Omilami, Hosea Feed the Hungry Executive Director | Actress | Humanitarian and Honorary Member, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated
For more information about Hosea Helps, visit 4hosea.org