House District Threatened By Florida Governor Is Steeped In Black History –

House District Threatened By Florida Governor Is Steeped In Black History –
Governor Ron Desantis (R-Fla.), Who saw it last month, mapped out the guerrilla convention that increased Republican seats and removed the 5th district. (Jabin Botsford / Washington Post)

Queens, Florida – When black businessman Kiara Smith looks across the street Door He sees the district court in his shop in the mall. The building was built in 1912 but is a historical place with what happened there decades ago.

“It was one of the biggest places for the slave trade,” said Smith, a 30-year-old resident of Queens. the slaves were sold. “There is no doubt that your great grandparents were slaves when you were born in Queens. And for some whites out there, they are more likely to be descendants of their owners. This is the reality we live in ».

The 200-mile stretch of Florida’s northern border is dotted with small towns at the western end, such as Queens, where historically blacks made up a third or more of the population. But in the 145 years since the rebuilding was completed, only the last five years have been in Queens and most of North Florida has been represented in Congress by Congressman Al Lawson (D), a black politician.

Now, with the Republican legislature of Florida, Gov. The unfortunate and unprecedented decades-long battle between Ron Desantis over political map redesign could wipe out Lawson County and turn Gaudin County, where Queens is located, and seven other counties into black. Population in congressional districts represented by white Republicans.

“This governor is trying to go back in time. He will not carry us forward. “He will bring us back,” said Ben Fraser, a Jacksonville activist in the eastern region of the region, likening the extraction to the southern separatist governors fighting the civil rights movement. “He’s doing the same thing that Orwell Faubus in Arkansas and George Wallace in Alabama did. He just does it with a new costume.

The battle for the district lines began in January, just as the Florida State Senate voted on his map and Lawson left the 5th Congressional District unchanged. Martin Luther King Jr. On the eve of Eid, the away team complicated a bilateral process. He presented his map, which was decidedly more partisan, which increased the powers of the Republicans and wiped out District 5.

current location of the house It ended in 2015, after a long legal battle over redistribution, when the state Supreme Court drew up a Congressional map that created a new district that stretched east to west along the northern border and favored black voters.

Earlier this month, Republicans in the state legislature bowed to the will of the removal party and approved two possible Congressional maps, one already approved by the state Senate and which still holds the Lawson seat, the other which slow down the county to a small area. Around Jacksonville they would be 35% black. By displacing every other black community in North Florida by 2020, Donald Trump has won in his constituencies. The Senate quickly adopted this second map, and the legislator sent both options to DeSantis.

The extraction team promised to veto both maps and insisted on all versions, but its version contains “unconstitutional germanders”. March 4, while voting on home maps, DeSantis said on Twitter Which are “DOA”.

According to DeSantis’ map, most of the current constituencies in the 5th constituency will be concentrated in the constituency of Congressman Neil Dunn, which received 34% of the votes from the constituency where Trump will receive 11% in 2020. The blade office did not respond to a request for comment.

“We’ve had a lot of lawmakers calling our office and saying it’s a bluff. “I’m not bluffing,” she said after tweeting at a press conference. “So let’s get together and try to come to terms on some issues.”

Letter sent to Შi State Supreme Court in February Having had an idea of ​​the map they had excavated, the mining team said the area did not conform to “ordinary political or geographical boundaries”. The court rejected the landing request for an advisory opinion.

A group of voters on Friday was represented by Democratic Electoral Attorney Mark Elias. The lawsuit is filed and asks the court to draw a new map. A lawsuit filed in Leon County Court in Tallahassee says “there is no reasonable chance for Florida’s political branches to reach an agreement.”

In an effort to clear the constituency, Stephen K. Bannon, a former Trump adviser, urged supporters of the radio show to fill the governor’s office with a request, opposing any plan that would not significantly increase the number of Republicans. . Seats in the US House of Representatives delegation. Democrats say the removal party, which is vying for re-election and seen as a potential presidential candidate, could look beyond this year’s redeployment by choosing a campaign that will help the Republican Party cause: take control of Congress. .

Landing discusses Florida’s redeployment towards the 2022 and possibly 2024 elections.

“The governor has repeatedly stated that he believes the county was unconstitutional damaged, but the map was drawn up by the Florida Supreme Court to enforce the voting rights law,” said Fentris Driskel, a Florida House Democrat. Relocation Committee. “I think he is trying to challenge the right to vote and, if he succeeds, it will be very bad for the country.”

Democratic governors and state Supreme Court justices thwarted attempts by Republic-led legislatures to draw maps that reduce minority voter turnout, but there is an imbalance between the rapid growth of these communities and the number of constituencies that they can elect. Louisiana Governor John Bell Edwards (D) vetoed a map compiled by the GOP this week because he only had one of six black boroughs in the state where the black population reached a third of the population.

Queens, 25 miles west of Tallahassee, was one of the most prosperous of the vast cotton and tobacco fields that stretched east to Jacksonville. As white “Pioneer Entrepreneurs”, one of the official reports in Florida described them leaving Georgia and other southern countries before the Civil War, building plantations in the region with the labor of enslaved people. Many houses and mansions from the 1840s and 1850s still stand, many of which were built for the men who fought the country during the Civil War and served in the Confederate Army.

This region was called Central Florida and at the time 44% of its population was black.

Midway-born Lawson said the new legislator’s map “will represent all black voters in western Jacksonville.” The governor’s map completely obliterates this view.

“In our state’s history, we haven’t submitted two maps to the Florida legislature for scrutiny, one clearly unconstitutional and the other ‘if we get caught,'” Lawson said in a statement after the legislature passed the second map. . .

Lawson, 74, worked alongside his father and grandfather as a young man in the tobacco fields of Gasden County and, like them, was introduced to Jim Crow South racism. As he recalled, the “colored” public fountain had a fly, so it drank “only from whites”.

A man came out, grabbed a gun and said, “Son, you can’t drink this,” Lawson said. “I can remember all of this and imagine the same person who pulled out the gun coming back to me for help and assistance, and I will help and assist them.”

Inside Quincy said most of his elected officials, from City Hall to the State Assembly, are black. You said that’s the difference.

“When I walk into an office and talk to someone who looks like me, it feels like the door is open,” Smith said. “The best representation will be another black person who knows what it’s really like to be black in America.”

Londe Mondelus, a sophomore at A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, a historically black university, cares about her school and surrounding black communities that will no longer go unnoticed if they are no longer represented by a person of color.

“I love my HBCU and Al Lawson has done a lot to fund my institute,” said Mondelus, 19, who is also a student government senator. “And this is good because we have underfunded compared to FSU [Florida State University], which directly on the tracks. “Al Lawson understands that, he understands what we need.”

Says Reverend Don Toliver in Tallahassee He and other black voters have made many concessions, including voting restrictions passed by the state legislature last year. Proponents of the vote see new laws restricting polling stations or providing people with food and water to vote in an attempt to stifle minority voters. DeSantis also plans to sign a new law that makes it a crime to have more than two ballots at once, effectively criminalizing many black churches by collecting ballot papers from parishioners and submitting them to the polls.

“The change requested by the Governor will reduce our vote and we will not have fair representation,” said Toliver, pastor and member of the Equality Action Fund, a suffrage organization.

Most black voters in Florida are registered Democrats. For example, Gasden County has more than 20,000 democracies compared to 5,000 Republicans.

Toliver was attending the night of Lawson’s election victory in 2016, when it was revealed for the first time since 1877 that anyone but a white man represented the district in Congress. Josha Wallis, a black man, represented the Florida Congress from 1871 to 1877.

“Only then did it come to our attention. “We were happy,” Toliver recalls. “It was a sense of accomplishment.”

While Democrats across the country marveled at Trump’s victory, Lawson gave a short speech that evening on “how to keep good business.” He and others see support for issues like voting rights, childcare funding, and Medicaid election expansion of black officials.

“We need more territories, we need more representation so that we don’t feel abandoned in the management process,” Toliver said. “Now the governor wants to remove it using redistribution so that the minority vote is not awarded to this process. This is very disappointing ”.

Adrian Blanco contributed to this report.

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Source: Washington Post