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Posted February 6, 2012

Travelers, to the Redistricting Lane

Just Because I Want Tennessee to Have a Black Congressman Does Not Mean that I Hate Jews; The history of District 9 

By William Larsha, Sr., Political Analyst

The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway


MEMPHIS, TN -Just as I supported in year 1974, and in the years 2006, 2008 and 2010 the ‘‘fair-ism’’ of electing a Black Tennessee person to the U.S. Congress, so do I still support the election of a Black Tennessee person to the United States Congress.

During the early days of the 1970’s census taking time (redistricting), Tennessee had never elected a Black to serve in the U.S. Congress. Although White lawmakers, at the time, had the power to create another White district by gerrymandering Tennessee’s Congressional district 8 (later became district 9), they instead left it a majority Black populated district so that Blacks could register themselves and make the district a majority Black Congressional district.

In 1972, Blacks failed to register enough votes to elect a Black. But in 1974 they were successful and elected Harold Ford, Sr. congressman; and for some three decades Blacks in Congressional district 9 enjoyed having taxation with Black representation. 

But as it was during the 2006 primary election, when a multiplicity of Black Democratic party candidates running against a non-Black candidate and lost, election 2012 may find many Black candidates in district 9 running against a single non-Black candidate who could win and leave Tennessee once more with no Black in Congress.

Secondly, the majority vote Republican legislature in Nashville may make Congressional district 9 a majority White district. They may redistrict to give Blacks in Congressional district 9 the largest number of voters (say 49 percent), but not a majority Black district – of at least 51 percent.

Republican legislators could make possible for White voters and “other non-Black voters’’ in district 9 to join forces and create a majority non-Black winning vote. 

However, there are two actions supporters of a Black Congressperson can take:

(1) Appeal, (during the primary election of 2012) to every voter in Tennessee’s 9th Congressional district, non-Black and Black voter, to honor fairness and to vote to elect ‘‘just one Black’’ – for just one of the 11 Tennessee persons seated in Congress to be a Black American. 

(2) Hold a convention, initiated by 9th Congressional district supporters of ‘‘just one Black,’’ for the purpose of selecting a consensus candidate to run for Tennessee’s 9th Congressional seat. 

However, any Black consensus candidate movement initiated would meet opposition. Beware then – and be prepared to ignore those who would cry that such an initiative is divisive, anti-Semitic, and racist. They will use what propaganda tools they feel necessary to demonize any Black or Black group who would participate in a Black congressional candidate movement. They will tell you that the race of a candidate doesn’t matter.

They will even claim that pastors and ministers will violate ‘‘separation of Church and State’’ when they support the establishment of a Black congressional district. ‘‘Not true.’’ Not when the Clergy participates in a movement to assure that at least one Tennessee congressional district is reserved for the election of an African American.                  

Nevertheless, in the last three elections for Congress, Steve Cohen a White American won the 9th Congressional district seat. But in each of Cohen’s campaigns, I was declared by some as a Black racist or anti-Semitic for supporting the election of a Black U.S. Congressperson.           

Let it be known by all. I do not hate Congressman Steve Cohen because he is Jewish.  I do not hate Jews. As a matter of fact, I praise Jewish forces who through the years have taken the initiative to make Memphis a better city economically, educationally and socially. 

Also, I am not anti-Semitic. I do not oppose the efforts of Jews to again establish a homeland in the Middle East.  As a matter of fact, I am of a race of people whose religion, for the most part, is in the name of Jesus Christ, a Jew. And a homeland for Jews in the Middle East is a religious home for ‘‘We’’ Black Americans.

 Some Blacks said that they voted to elect Steve Cohen congressman because it was a way to pay Jews back for the many good things Jews have done for Blacks. I believe in paying back.  But Tennessee’s Congressional district 9 is precious and far too precious to be used as ‘‘pay back.’’ 





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