He Believed In Equality For All, And Died For It

Lyndon Johnson signs Voting Rights Act of 1965
Shonda Buchanan
January 14, 2021

Vernon Dahmer was the kind of Black man that white men feared. He registered voters. He was president of the NAACP – twice! And he let activists organize campaigns in his barn.

In retaliation, the KKK harassed him because of his important role in the community. But there was something even more threatening to whites than his civil rights work.

Dahmer was a well-off business owner! He owned over 200 acres of land, a grocery store, and a successful sawmill. He hired good workers – Black or white. His economic prosperity and generosity made him a target.

But when he announced that he was going to pay the required poll tax so poor Black people could vote, that sparked a horrible flame.

Jealous whites decided to take out the one Black man they were afraid of.  

One winter night in 1966, a bomb destroyed Dahmer’s home, killing him. The KKK thought they’d scared us off – but something else happened.

Our people showed up in DROVES to vote! By defying white supremacy and honoring Dahmer’s memory, those voters showed that the work we do to liberate our communities makes a huge impact. 

We must continue to fight against inequality and discrimination, even if it ends our lives – the prosperity and empowerment we create will reverberate for generations to come. 

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