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Alabama NAACP will hold voting rights vigils tonight

Brandon Moseley

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The Alabama NAACP has announced that they are holding voting rights vigils in Alabama’s four largest cities tonight to protest what they feel are a weakening of voting rights in this country. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law on August 6, 1965 and will be 54 years old today.

There will be candlelight vigils across the country. The Voting Rights Act Vigils are sponsored by: Public Citizen, NextGen America, the Daily Kos, the League of Women Voters of the United States, People For the American Way, and Stand Up America.

National spokeswoman Christine Wood said in a statement: “Born out of the March on Selma, the Voting Rights Act was created to protect each person’s right to vote. While the Act was successful for decade, it was gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013 in the disastrous Shelby County v. Holder decision.”

“Six years later and we’re seeing discriminatory voting laws emerge across the country – including voter ID laws, voter purges, and gerrymandering – all of which are infringing on the right to vote and suppressing the voices of entire communities,” Wood continued. “On Tuesday, August 6th, Democracy activists are taking action. Voting Rights advocates around the country will hold candle-lit vigils to shed light on the impact of the Shelby decision, and demand that Congress restore the voting rights protections in the Voting Rights Act.”

“Help ensure that every person has a voice regardless of the color of their skin by taking a part in this national action. Sign up to host or attend a VRA Vigil near you!” Wood concluded.

The Huntsville event will start at: 7:45 p.m. and ill be at the Gazebo at Big Spring Park; 200 Church St SW, Huntsville, AL 35801. It is hosted by the Alabama NAACP.

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The Birmingham event will start at 7:30 and be held at Cross Plex; 2337 Bessemer Rd Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35208. It is hosted by the Alabama NAACP.

The Montgomery event will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church; 454 Dexter Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104. That event is sponsored by the Alabama NAACP, Alabama ACLU, and the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice.

The Shine a Light for Voting Rights event in Mobile will start at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at Mardi Gras Park; 104-148 S Royal St, Mobile, AL 36602. That event is hosted by the Alabama NAACP.

The Voting Rights Act likely would not have passed without the Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery. On February 26, 1965 voting rights activist Deacon Jimmy Lee Jackson died from his wounds after being shot by Alabama State Trooper James B. Fowler at a voting rights march in Marion. Determined to focus the anger over Lee’s death into peaceful protest, SCLC Director James Bevel organized a protest march to Montgomery to remember Jackson and urge enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1964 which ended legal voting discrimination.

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On Sunday, March 7 Bevel and Amelia Boynton led the protest march. Then Alabama Governor George C. Wallace (D) ordered the then all White State Troopers to break up the march. The Troopers, aided by local police and possemen volunteers fought off the marchers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge using horses, teargas, and clubs. Boynton was beaten unconscious. The event was televised and made national and international newscasts. The nation was shocked by the senseless violence and obvious over reaction by Alabama authorities.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. joined by a number of religious and civil rights leaders, traveled to Selma to launch a second march. Boston civil rights volunteer and minister James Reeb was beaten to death by White supremacists on the night of March 8. On March 9 King led a second March. They were met at the bridge by the State Troopers again who however stood aside to let them pass. King led the bruised and battered Selma marchers back to the Church.

Wallace refused to grant the marchers safe passage to Montgomery. President Lyndon B. Johnson (D) intervened and promised to protect the marchers. On March 15 the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was introduced in Congress. On March 21, 1965 King led a third and much larger march from Selma down Highway 80. This time they were protected by 1,900 Alabama National Guard troops, FBI agents, and U.S. Marshals. 25,000 marchers arrived in Montgomery on March 24 and held a protest rally in front of the State Capital on March 25. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 on August 6.

(Wikipedia was consulted in the writing of this article.)

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Last Conversations: Dr. Frank Lockwood

At the time of those texts, I had no clue that I’d never speak with my brother again.

Robert Lockwood

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Photos of Dr. Frank Lockwood (CONTRIBUTED/APR GRAPHIC)

My brother, Frank Lockwood, was a family practice doctor with an office in McDonough, Georgia. Frank was a great doctor, who used his intelligence, compassion and humor to improve the lives of his patients. And, even though he was great at his job, the practice of medicine, in many ways, just paid the bills.

Above all else, Frank wanted to be an entertainer. He submitted video applications to participate on “Survivor” and even got a call-back for “The Mole.” The highlight of his 15 minutes of fame was his disastrous appearance on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” (Google: Worst. Audience. Ever. On. Millionaire.)

Locally, Frank was a founding member of Atlanta’s Village Theatre, an improv comedy group.

In short, Frank was highly intelligent and wickedly funny. So, I was dismayed when he called me in early July, and I couldn’t recognize his voice. Frank told me that he’d contracted coronavirus from one of his patients and had been sick for several days. The cadence and rhythm of his voice were clearly Frank, but the pitch was all wrong. I assume the coughing had wreaked havoc on his vocal cords.

I am an employment lawyer. I defend employers who are getting sued by their employees. In my younger days, I defended plenty of employers who were sued for workers’ compensation benefits — monetary and medical benefits provided to employees who are injured on-the-job.

Thus, in my role as the Lockwood Family Consigliere, Frank wanted to know if he could receive workers’ compensation benefits from his employer because he caught coronavirus at work. We discussed the intricacies of a workers’ compensation claim, and Frank hung-up, promising to think about the issue further.

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My next communications with my brother were my last. On July 3, 2020, at 5:36 a.m., I received this text from him: Wanna work comp these folks to death. I’m in micu now.

MICU is the intensive care unit.  I was asleep at 5:36 a.m., but I texted back at 7:40: Glad to see the ‘rona has not dampened your spirit. Want me to get you a lawyer?

His response: Yep.

At the time of those texts, I had no clue that I’d never speak with my brother again. He was 52 and in good physical shape with no co-morbidities. He was a patient in a hospital where he knew all of the physicians treating him. I knew a few people who contracted the disease and recovered. Everything I read led me to believe that my brother would have a fight but would recover.

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It didn’t work out that way. Frank was sedated, placed on a ventilator and temporarily rallied. The greatest tragedy is that he was removed from the ventilator and briefly conscious on July 13, but his husband, Bernie, did not get a chance to speak with him.

Frank’s immune system turned on him with a “cytokine storm.” He was returned to the ventilator and struggled for the next three weeks. I am thankful that I was able to be present, along with Bernie and our brother, Chris, when he passed away on Aug. 5.

As we walked out of the hospital that day, an announcement was made over the facility intercom that a patient was leaving for home. And then they played Pharrell’s “Happy.” In hindsight, I’m pretty sure that song was for somebody else. But at that moment Bernie, Chris and I simultaneously bawled and laughed. To us, it was like Frank Lockwood, the entertainer, had chosen his own exit music.

I’ve got a lot of regrets about my relationship with my brother and my last words with him. But, I promise you this: We have retained counsel in Georgia, and we are gonna work comp those folks to death.

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Republican efforts focus on Georgia Senate races

Georgia was a huge disappointment to Republicans on Nov. 3. Can the GOP retain its Senate seats?

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Georgia was a huge disappointment to Republicans on Nov. 3. The normally reliably red southern state voted with Virginia as the only two southern states to prefer then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden over President Donald Trump in the presidential election.

It was by the smallest of margins, but the narrow win has Democrats energized and hopeful that they can win both U.S. Senate seats in the state in dueling runoffs on Jan. 5. Meanwhile, Republicans are rallying to the defense of incumbent Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

Perdue and Loeffler face well-funded Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock

Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville unseated incumbent Democrat Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama, the only Republican pickup in the November election. Democrats unseated GOP Sens. Corey Gardner in Colorado and Martha McSally in Arizona, both western states won by Biden.

Vulnerable GOP Senate incumbents Susan Collins in Maine and Joni Ernst in Iowa both held on. That gives the Republicans 50 seats in the Senate in the next Congress. With Sen. Kamala Harris being the deciding vote in a tie as the incoming vice president, Democrats could take control of the Senate with wins in the two Georgia runoffs.

The Alabama Republican Party is mobilizing to help the embattled Georgia Republican Party.

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The Alabama Strike Force, which was successfully deployed to Florida in the presidential election, has been redeployed to Georgia for the runoff elections. The group of Alabama Republican party volunteers, led by Shelby County Republican Party Chairwoman Joan Reynolds, are going door to door in Georgia urging Republican-leaning voters to come out and vote for Perdue and Loeffler in the runoffs.

Alabama Republican Party insider former State Rep. Perry Hooper Jr., a staunch Trump supporter, is working to raise funds for Perdue and Loeffler.

“It is imperative that everyone support the two Republican Georgia Senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, in their bid for re-election,” Hooper said. “The control of the Senate hangs in the balance. Republicans currently hold a 50-48 [majority]. However, if the Democrats sweep these races in the January 5th runoffs and Joe Biden is the president, Kamala Harris represents the tiebreaker on all votes that are tied 50-50 in the Senate. The Democrats nationwide are pulling out all stops to win these elections with two radical left-wing candidates.”

Likely 2024 Republican presidential hopefuls Sens. Marco Rubio, Tim Scott and Tom Cotton as well as Vice President Mike Pence all have been on the ground campaigning for Loeffler and Perdue. The potential Republican presidential candidates in 2024 would all like a few moments of early-stage presidential campaign time.

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Biden will take office as the oldest president in American history. President Ronald Reagan was 77 years old when he left office. Biden will be 78 when he is inaugurated so it is far from certain that he will run for a second term, making the 2024 election likely a wide-open race.

Republicans and Democrats are both throwing piles of money and resources at the state. The pitched battle for Georgia is going on even as Georgia’s election officials are conducting a hand tally of votes in the presidential race.

Pres. Trump still has not conceded the presidential election or Georgia. The President criticized Georgia’s Republican Governor and Secretary of State this weekend.

Trump is another possible 2024 contender. The president won more votes in 2020 than anyone in American history other than Biden.

“We must do all we can to support the Republican ground game in Georgia,” Hooper said. “This effort will enable Republicans to verify all signatures on all ballots. Call all your friends and family in Georgia and do not hang up until you have convinced them of the importance of this election. If possible, travel to Georgia and go door to door. Contact your local Republican party and volunteer to make calls on behalf of Senators Loeffler and Perdue. You can do this on your cell phone from the comfort of your own home. We must win or all is lost.”

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This day in 1955, Rosa Parks changed history

The world will long remember Parks’s courage in the face of injustice.

Staff

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Rosa Parks mugshot

On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks’ refusal to relinquish her bus seat in violation of segregation laws in Montgomery changed the course of history. Parks’s arrest for refusing to surrender her bus seat to a white man sparked a 381-day bus boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Far from being a diminutive seamstress who was weary from her work in a downtown department store, she was a political organizer and activist. At the time of her arrest, Parks served as a member of the Montgomery Voters League and secretary of the local chapter of the NAACP.

As she later wrote in her autobiography, “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

The world will long remember Parks’s courage in the face of injustice.

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Congressman-elect Jerry Carl names chief of staff

Carl announced that Chad Carlough will be his chief of staff.

Brandon Moseley

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Congressman-elect Jerry Carl

Congressman-elect Jerry Carl announced Monday that Chad Carlough will be his chief of staff. Carl was just elected on Nov. 3 to represent Alabama’s 1st Congressional District in the 117th Congress.

“I am proud to announce Chad Carlough will serve as my Chief of Staff when I take office January 3, 2021,” Carl said. “Chad has a wide breadth of experience on Capitol Hill, previously holding several roles in Congressman Bradley Byrne’s office, including chief of staff. I have the utmost confidence in Chad’s character and his ability, and I am excited to have him on board.”

Elizabeth Roney will continue serving as district director, Carl said.

“Prior to serving as Congressman Byrne’s District Director, Elizabeth worked in the offices of both Congressman Sonny Callahan and Congressman Jo Bonner,” Carl said. “Elizabeth’s long-standing experience will ensure a smooth transition from Congressman Byrne’s office to mine.”

Zach Weidlich will be joining Carl’s team as well on Jan. 3 as his office’s communications director.

“Zach did a great job running my campaign the last two years, and I am confident that he will continue to be an asset in my office,” Carl said.

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Carl defeated Democratic nominee James Averhart 211,825 to 116,949 in the Nov. 3 election.

Carl succeeds Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, after Byrne’s decision to not seek re-election in favor of mounting a campaign for the Alabama Republican Senate primary.

Carl is the president of the Mobile County Commission, representing District 3. He also serves as deacon of the Luke 4:18 Fellowship in Mobile, where he was born and raised. Carl defeated former State Sen. Bill Hightower in a hard-fought Republican primary runoff in July.

Outside of state politics, Carl has also started a number of businesses ranging from the sale of medical supplies to timber. Carl describes himself as an avid hunter. He is also a father and grandfather.

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