Flashpoint: Election Day reminder from North Philly woman who marched with MLK

November 05, 2018 - 7:13 pm
Miss Bernice Jordan

Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A North Philadelphia woman who once marched on the front lines for voting rights in Alabama will be casting her ballot tomorrow, and she has an election day reminder.

"He said we gon' start marching to get our right to vote, oh I was ready," said 80-year-old Bernice Jordan. She says she marched in Birmingham, Alabama alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  

First, she says, their goal was to end segregation in her home state of Alabama. Then, they worked to stop the poll tax and literacy tests rampant in the state.

"They'd run you away from the poll, say you wasn't allowed there," she recalled. 

The mother of eight remembers casting her first ballot, despite voter intimidation, in 1964.

"I put that first X on that piece of paper," said Jordan, "oh, if you could see my heart racing and going on because I don' marched for this you know."

Miss Bernice Jordan
Cherri Gregg/KYW Newsradio

And she hasn't missed an election day since that first one.
"You got your right to vote, you wanted your right to vote," she said. "You don't want nobody else voting for you."

So when Miss Bernice hears younger folks saying they won't vote, she doesn't take it lightly. 

"All that work, it looks like it's all in vain," she said. "I betcha Dr. King done turned over 100 times in his grave."

On Tuesday at 10 am, Miss Bernice will cast her ballot.

"It means so much to me that I can," she said, "now why can't you."