Granddaddy’s Gift by Margaree King Mitchell
Little Joe and her granddaddy lived in a small town in Mississippi in a time when the South was segregated. Granddaddy, through his courage and pride, became the first black man to register to vote in his town. Through his actions, he taught his granddaughter about the importance of education, determination, and self-respect.
Little Joe asked her granddaddy why she had to go to school. She knew that the books she had at home were better than the books at school. The books at school were passed down from the white schools and were raggedy with pages missing. Granddaddy responded, I want you to learn as much as you can so when you grow up you can choose what you want to do. Do you think this conversation could take place in 2022 as well? Be prepared to support your answer.
If you could choose what you want to do now for when you grow up, what would you choose to do?
In 1890 Mississippi wrote a new state constitution. In it they added two requirements that men had to achieve in order to be able to register to vote; that is, men had to pay a poll tax a full two years before an election, and they had to pass a literacy test. The requirements were included to try to prevent black men from being able to vote.
At a town meeting in his small town in Mississippi, granddaddy volunteered to be the first black man to try to register to vote. Why do you think people did not want their children to play with Little Joe after they found out her granddaddy was going to take the test? If you were Little Joe, what would you say to your classmates to help them understand what your granddaddy was doing and why?
As we celebrate the voting rights for all Americans, think about the fact that only 54.87% of all eligible Pennsylvania voters actually voted in the last Presidential election. What ideas do you have to encourage more people to vote and, therefore, to have their voices heard?
The 26th Amendment gave 18 year olds the right to vote. Do you think the age to vote should be lowered, should be raised, or should stay at 18? Be prepared to support your answer.