For most of her lifetime, my Grandma heard more “not now” than “now.” Born in the 1890s, she grew up in the southern U.S., where she could not attend the same schools, visit the same hospitals, stay overnight in hotels, sit up front in buses and trains, sit down in most restaurants or drink from the same water fountains as a white person. The discrimination she experienced was legal, thanks to Plessy vs. Ferguson, an 1896 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that schools, businesses and more could be racially segregated as long as services and facilities were “equal.” In 1920, when Grandma gained the right to vote, she and other Black women were ready for a new “now,” yet Jim Crow laws stood in their way.
Although the “not now” still continues in many ways today, she would have been amazed to see how many people of all ethnicities are now aware and advocating for more abundant life for all of God’s creation.
This excerpt is from “’Now, Now,’ My Grandma Cora Would Say…” by Elizabeth Hunter in the October 2020 Gather Magazine. Today is Election Day in the United States.
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