A lawless country

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The Passing of Rudolph Wise, former GWCDP Chair

Thank you to Executive Committeewoman, Catherine Swindell, for the research.

The Greenwood County Democratic Party has been in existence since just after World War 2. It has been home to many distinguished members and leaders in Greenwood and we stop for a moment to recognize the recent passing of Rudolph Wise, the first African-American Chair of the GWCDP.

Rudolph was elected Chair in 1988, the same year that Michael Dukakis won the Democratic Presidential nomination (losing to George Bush Sr that November). Rudolph was a teacher at Greenwood High School at the time and unseated 2-term Chair, Durell Bowie, in the County Convention in March 1988. He served as Chair through 1994.

photo attributed to the Index-Journal

On February 29, 2020, as South Carolina launched Joe Biden to the official Democratic Presidential nomination, Rudolph Wise passed into eternal rest at the age of 86. We’re grateful for the positive influence he had on the countless number of students whose lives he had touched over the decades. We also thank him for his service to the Greenwood County Democratic Party.

Rest in Peace, Chairman Wise.


Do you have personal memories of Rudolph Wise’s time with the Greenwood County Democratic Party? Let us know and be part of this digital remembrance at info@gwdcountydems.org.

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People with Felony Records can Vote in South Carolina. Here’s how:

The South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center is a valuable resource for low income South Carolinians to overcome social, economic & legal injustice. With an office in downtown Columbia they have a staff that includes attorneys, outreach workers, and community organizers.

They have published an article titled: People with Felony Records can Vote in South Carolina. Here’s how. In this article, they state:

Many people believe their criminal record means they have permanently lost their right to vote. While that may be true for some people in certain states, it is not true for people living in South Carolina. In South Carolina, voting rights are automatically restored once a person is released from incarceration and completed probation or parole. All a person has to do is re-register to vote.

Please spread the word that if you’ve served your debt to society, your right to vote has been restored. Read the article above for more information!

Consider the recent news of Congressional candidate, Keeda Haynes of Tennessee, a convicted felon who became a public defender and is now taking on a 17-year incumbent Congressman.

The progressive Democrat who is currently in a three-person primary race has been on both sides of the law. Two weeks after she graduated from Tennessee State University with a degree in criminal justice and psychology, her parents dropped her off at prison. She spent nearly four years there on marijuana charges, of which, she maintains her innocence.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/25/politics/keeda-haynes-tennessee-candidate-congress/

Beyond just voting rights, there’s opportunity to be an agent of change for anyone. Sometimes, they just need to know the opportunity is there.

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Voting is a Right Others Have Died For

Last Sunday, I had the great privilege to speak at the Bailey Bethel AME Church at the invitation of our Executive Committeeman David Gaskin and Rev. Quincy Baylor. It was a perfect morning, with a bright, shining sun and a God-provided breeze that kept the heat at bay.

I was allowed a few minutes to share some facts about the upcoming election in November, voter registration, the voting process, and the history of voting rights in our country. The story of the Freedom Summer murders in 1964 especially moves me. Three young men were traveling through Mississippi as activists helping to register African-Americans to vote. They were abducted and murdered by local law enforcement for doing the very thing I was doing that Sunday morning at Bailey Bethel.

I can’t imagine the bravery those men and countless others exhibited back in the 60’s, fighting merely to exercise the fundamental right to vote as granted by the Constitution. That point is underscored by the loss of two civil rights icons last week. Congressman John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian were only young men themselves as they marched side-by-side with Martin Luther King Jr towards a foe that outnumbered and out-armed them.

In those days, there was a clear goal and a very determined opposition willing to resort to violence to prevent that goal from being reached. But today, our opponent is apathy and it’s doing just as good of a job keeping people from the polls.

In the 2016 Presidential Election, 1 out of 3 registered voters did not vote. And it’s estimated that 30% of US citizens who are eligible to vote never even registered. Put those two numbers together and you find that just under half of eligible Americans actually voted in November, 2016. And we wonder why we’re in the mess we’re in today! Let’s honor the memory of those that have sacrificed, some with their lives, for our right to vote by making sure we all take advantage of that opportunity on November 3, 2020. Let’s go above and beyond by bringing our family, friends, and neighbors with us. In numbers, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

Chair, GWCDP

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On Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

The below excerpt comes from an article written by Loy Sartin, Curator and Director Emeritus of the Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site. It was published in the Index Journal on July 5, 2020 and is reprinted here with permission from Mr. Sartin.

In Greenwood County, the place of his [Dr. Benjamin Mays’s] birth, he experienced racists, violence, and discrimination. I’m glad that Greenwood has in recent times come to respect his life and his many accomplishments, and that we’ve been able to establish the Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site in our city limits, a place dedicated to perpetuate his enormous legacy which includes his life-long efforts toward achieving racial reconciliation. It’s been one of the great honors of my life to have played a small part in its establishment in 2010, to have served as its curator/director for about seven years, and to have had the opportunity to meet many of Dr. Mays’ relatives and associates.

By Source, Fair use, wikipedia

Dr. Mays made a tremendous impact on our nation by developing men of character, by his close association with three U.S. presidents, and by his mentorship of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a monumental, influential figure of the 20th Century and, even in death, is still influencing and changing lives. Senator John Drummond’s life was changed because of his association with Dr. Mays, as were many other white Southerners.

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