A citizen’s duty

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 10, 2003

In the shadow of Brown Chapel AME Church, gathering point for the historic Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights in March 1965, only 130 of the 700 voters on the rolls of Carver Precinct had voted by midafternoon Tuesday, according to Bobby Reddick, chief inspector for the precinct.

Reddick was plainly unhappy because some 500 of those registered live right across the street in GWC homes &045; a distance of a couple hundred yards at most from the polling place set up in the complex’s Martin Luther King Jr. Nutrition Center.

Reddick shook his head as he contrasted the relatively low turnout with the efforts of 83-year-old resident Sallie Stallworth. Although it is difficult for Stallworth to get around because of her age, she hobbled across the street Tuesday to the GWC polling place, accompanied by her grandson, J.D. Stallworth. The younger Stallworth walks with the assistance of a cane due to injuries in a car accident that took place a year ago.

Email newsletter signup

Together they made it successfully across the street with the help of Tisha Bowie, a GWC resident who spent the afternoon trying to get out the vote.

Reddick praised Stallworth’s determination to vote in the face of her physical infirmities, while hundreds of well-bodied residents didn’t even bother.

The Stallworths were, in fact, the only persons voting at about 2:15 p.m.

During an interview on the front porch of her home, Sallie Stallworth and her grandson talked about voting, their neighborhood and Amendment One.

Sallie Stallworth moved to Selma from Orrville 11 years ago. She registered to vote shortly after the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, although she says that she was not active in the movement.

Stallworth said that she votes in every election because she believes it is her duty as a citizen to do so. Asked if she had encouraged others to vote, she said no.

When the Stallworths were asked about sources of information to inform their voting, Sallie Stallworth said she had followed the matter on television. Her grandson said he had not thought much about it until a discussion recently at a National Guard gathering when he heard various opinions expressed.

Neither would disclose how they voted.

Tisha Bowie, who had returned from her job to her apartment at GWC around 2 p.m., said she voted for the amendment.

Bowie said she planned to spend the rest of the afternoon going door to door with her boys, encouraging people to vote.

Just as she was speaking, Kenchavious, 8, and Donnell, 6, came up and the three of them moved out urging everyone they met to vote.