SUFFOLK, Virginia — Lorraine Corry-Moore of this suburban-rural city said she was dressed to represent. It was 9:30 a.m. Election Day Tuesday and Corry-Moore had just cast her vote at Temple Beth El congregation, a Black Judaic religious center that was serving as the Sleepy Hole community polling station.
This voter was dressed in a white three-quarter length AKA coat with the sorority pink and green colors decorating a black blouse on the inside.
Corry-Moore’s pandemic protective face mask read “Good trouble,” the advice given by civil rights icon U.S. Rep. John Lewis, 80, who died in July.
“We’ll see,” was Corry-Moore’s answer to the query, who will win the presidential contest between challenger Joe Biden and incumbent Donald Trump?
Corry-Moore’s son Alan Hyman, 44, traveled with her to the polls. However, he did not vote.
“I’m bitter,” he said, explaining that he spent 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, a charge of second-degree murder. He said he was incarcerated in 1999 and released in 2016.
Hyman said the 5-foot, 8-inch tall man who actually committed the homicide was eventually caught and prosecuted. Hyman, 6-foot 3-inches and 225 pounds, said he lost the opportunity to play Big 12 college football. As he earnestly told his story, a tear rolled down his right cheek.
Hyman, is a member of a much-courted demographic – African-American men – during this election. In 2016, 13 percent of Black men voted for Trump, unlike the 94 percent of Black women who rejected the Republican from New York.
Many other Black men did not vote, unlike the 2008 and 2012 Barack Obama years, and Trump was able by the smallest of margins to win enough states – including Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – to come out on top in the Electoral College, yet lose the popular count by 3 million votes.
Those facts did not change Hyman’s mind. He was respectful and calm, yet resolute in stating his choice not to vote.
Meanwhile, about 30 cars were in the Temple Beth El lot off Route 17 here. A steady parade of voters came and left, in ones and twos, in the sunny and brisk 50-degree air.
Demographically, the Suffolk/Chesapeake/Portsmouth, Virginia corridor is about 35 to 40% Black. In 2016, after decades of Robert C. “Bobby” Scott being the lone Black congressman in the state – who happens to represent this neighborhood inside the 3rd Congressional District – Donald McEachin became the second Black congressman in the commonwealth, serving the 4th Congressional District.
The writer is a professor of professional practice at Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.