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If you're still not sure whether you're going to vote, consider what it would feel like if someone said you couldn't vote. For Nettie Whittington, this was a reality for more than half her life.

Nettie was born in Farmhaven, Mississippi, in 1899…109 years ago. At that time, William McKinley was president, the Wright brothers had yet to fly a plane, people traveled by horse and carriage and television hadn't been invented.

On August 18, 1920, the 19th constitutional amendment was ratified, granting women the right to vote. Nettie was almost 21 years old at the time, but she didn't cast her first ballot until four decades later. Like countless other African-American men and women living in the South, racial tensions and Jim Crow laws kept Nettie away from the polls.

Then, in 1965, the government passed the Voting Rights Act, which outlawed discriminatory voting practices. Finally, every U.S. citizen could stand up and be counted, regardless of race, gender or economic status.

Over the years, Nettie has seen 19 presidents come and go, and she says she hasn't missed a single presidential election since she was given the right to vote.
FROM: A Two-Day Election Event: Oprah's Voting Party
Published on November 04, 2008


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