“He asked me, 'How many black jelly beans are in the jar...'”
Theresa Burroughs tells her daughter Toni Love about registering to vote.
Click here for the transcript.
TB: I went there for two years with a minister named Reverend J.J. Simmons. The white men, they would not let us register to vote. They would sit there, they had tables, and they would be playing dominoes. I didn't even know how to play dominoes, but do you know I learned to play standing there watching them? They would ask you silly questions. Like this man, I never will forget his name, Mr. Cox. He was chair of the board of registrars. He asked me how many black jelly beans in a jar? How many red ones in there? And I told him, you don't know how many jelly beans -- he told me to shut my black mouth, shut up. Well, the next Monday, I told Reverend Simmons that I was not going back. I said I was not going to be embarrassed like that any more. He said, You want to vote, don't you. I said yes. He said, We're going to go until the building falls down so we're going to be there every time they open that door. He said. now in the morning, I'll be back to pick you up. You going. And that is the day Mr. Cox asked me to recite part of the preamble to the Constitution. I don't really think he knew, but I recited it. He said, You're going to pass today because we are tired of looking at your black faces. And then he gave me my slip, that I was a registered voter. We did vote in the next election. It was a joy, but the thing about it is I didn't feel it should have been this hard. I knew it shouldn't have been this hard.