It’s primary day in Connecticut on Tuesday. Usually primaries are ho-hum affairs, and the turnout hovers around twenty percent. I’m hoping that the hot contests on both sides will improve that number — but not counting on it. Please make yourself part of this process.
I always vote because of family members who couldn’t. Until 1920 my grandmother and my great aunts had to watch from the sidelines. Reports are that Anna Louise James was one of the first women to register in Old Saybrook.
Once the law allowed, they were never denied the opportunity to participate. That wasn’t true for my grandfather, Walter Elijah Petry. He was born a slave in Louisiana. As a young man, he was able to serve on juries and so forth. By the time he moved to New Iberia in 1900, the state had disenfranchised black men. I remember my dad saying with great bitterness that even though he owned property and paid taxes, my grandfather wasn’t allowed to vote.
At that moment I decided I will vote at every opportunity, and I will think of Grandfather Walter when I do.