I’VE TRACED a maternal great-great-great-grandfather to 1819 and a paternal great-great-great-grandfather to 1837. A great-great-grandfather was lucky enough to be born free in Virginia in 1854. When my maternal grandparents was born, women could not vote, and all four of my grandparents indubitably faced roadblocks to voting. My maternal grandfather served in World War I, and my father was in Vietnam.
In a few hours, I’m voting because Charles Trotter was born as the nation was rebuilding after the War of 1812 then witnessed war and another reconstruction. I’m voting because of the obvious reason why some ancestors only blip into existence in the 1870 Census. I’m voting because Pvt. Elliott and Sgt. Robinson donned uniforms and served this nation. I’m voting because I was raised by people who overcame being barred from entering through the front door of the neighborhood grocery store, patronizing certain restaurants, attending integrated schools and voting as easily as I will in just a few hours.
I’m voting because if I don’t, everything my family went through in the 197 years I can trace means nothing.