Convergence / Vol. 1 No. 3-4

Convergence 3: A November’s Tale: Assaults on the Franchise

“A November’s Tale: Assaults on the Franchise” lends the title and substance to Convergence 3, our spring/summer double-issue, which closes out our inaugural year. We aim here to turn the spotlight on the ballot–supposedly democracy’s proudest achievement and one of the central linchpins of Republican governance. The extent to which it was compromised, truncated, undermined is our principal concern in this interrogation in the aftermath of what is likely the most contentious and obscene national election in modern memory– the 2016 presidential election: ratified in 1870 in order to bolster Lincoln’s executive order, the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution assures the ballot as the (male) citizen’s quintessential democratic right without regard to “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Configured with the former enslaved male in mind, the authors of this Amendment were well aware of the power of constitutional sanctity, yet despite that, the expanded suffrage would eventually give way to the single longest period of studied and systematic violence that would harass post-Emancipation life in the United States. The refractory nature of this counter-democratic resistance showed such hardihood and perdurability and so altered the political consciousness of the U.S Republic for three ongoing generations that only with the passage of Civil Rights legislation (1965) a little past mid-century would the society be able to pay witness to the efficacy of the Fifteenth Amendment. Yet, incredibly, the ballot, well into the twenty-first century, remains under siege, primarily from Republican Party operatives, by forces determined to limit and constrain voter participation in the partisan gerrymandering of the nation’s congressional districts, tactics of voter suppression and intimidation, and a variety of public relations gestures designed to subvert the legitimacy of state voter rolls, etc.

Or Else…
Hortense J. Spillers

The Present Order: A Note
Rich Blint

Ballot Box Terror and The Impossibility of the Black Vote
Ahmad Greene-Hayes

California, the Beautiful, Or, Why the Killing and Incarceration of African Americans Won’t Budge the Ballot
Nigel Hatton

The U.S. Vote: Control. Fault. Delete.
Nathan L. Grant

Our Dreams Cannot Fit Into A Voting Booth
Christopher Winks

Marking Time
Charlton Copeland

Remembering Sally Hemmings. November 5, 2008.
Gale Jackson

The Voting Rights Act Without Tears
Jennie Kassanoff