Amanda Jone’s father encouraged her to vote. That wasn’t always an easy feat in Texas, but she did her best, paying poll taxes to vote for FDR and others. Now the 109-year-old daughter of a former slave has voted for the man who could become the first black president and she says, “I feel good about [it].”
Jones’ father herded sheep as a slave until he was 12, according to the family, and once he was freed, he was a farmer who raised cows, hogs and turkeys on land he owned. Her mother was born right after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, [her daughter] Joyce Jones said. The family owned more than 100 acres of land in Cedar Creek at one point, she said.
Amanda Jones’ father urged her to exercise her right to vote, despite discriminatory practices at the polls and poll taxes meant to keep black and poor people from voting. Those practices were outlawed for federal elections with the 24th Amendment in 1964, but not for state and local races in Texas until 1966.
Amanda Jones says she cast her first presidential vote for Franklin Roosevelt, but she doesn’t recall which of his four terms that was. When she did vote, she paid a poll tax, her daughter said. That she is able, for the first time, to vote for a black presidential nominee for free fills her with joy, Jones said.