“The right of citizens of the United States to vote SHALL NOT be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State, on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
– The 15th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
By Arthur Griffin Jr.
Recently, a consulting genealogist confirmed that I am the third generation from slavery.
Laurens Griffin, my grandfather, had a constitutional right, but never had the chance, to vote – neither as a slave on the Nathan L. Griffin Plantation in Edgefield, South Carolina, nor as a sharecropper after the Civil War.
Laurens did not have an audible voice against slavery and white supremacy. I did not know my grandfather, but I know he would be proud of his grandson and is smiling down on me today.
We have a President of the United States that supports institutional racism and white supremacy. On behalf of my grandfather, Laurens Griffin, and the thousands of disenfranchised African Americans before me, I plan to use my constitutional right and voice.
Today, that is the least I can do, given the unimaginable treatment he and others like him received. I will Vote and Vote Early.
Help give voice to Laurens Griffin, my grandfather, and go to the polls and Vote.
Born in a shotgun house in Charlotte but now retired as a senior vice president of a New York publisher, Arthur Griffin Jr. has devoted his life to pressing for equity in educational opportunities.
His tour of duty as leader of an Army platoon in Vietnam ended in the first years of Charlotte school desegregation. Back in Charlotte, he noticed first, he told interviewer Pam Grundy, that the black schools he attended had not been desegregated, but had simply been closed. Then he noticed that many black children were receiving disproportionate punishment in school disciplinary hearings at desegregated schools. Hired by a legal services group, he began representing those children at school hearings.
Later, he was elected to the CMS Board of Education, and served as its chair from 1997-2002. Griffin graduated from segregated Second Ward High School in 1966. He earned a BS in liberal studies from the State University of New York at Albany in 1992.
On the occasion of his being honored in 2018 with the Charlotte Post Foundation’s 2018 Luminary Award, Griffin told the Post, “I am more focused and articulate about education because if you’ve got a great education, you’ll do well in this country.”