'It's No Coincidence': Bernice King On The Role Selma Played In The Alabama Election

"It’s no coincidence that Selma, where blood was shed in the struggle for voting rights for Black people, pushed Doug Jones ahead for good."

Democrat Doug Jones won the Alabama Senate race this week after narrowly defeating GOP candidate Roy Moore to become the first Democratic senator elected in the state since 1986.

To say Jones' win was a surprise is an understatement, and as pundits began to pour over exactly how the votes fell, it became clear that people in the historically significant city of Selma played a key role in securing Jones's victory. As The Nation reports, when the votes from those residing in the locale that was central to the long march for civil rights in the American South started coming in, Moore's lead quickly evaporated and he soon fell behind.

According to the New York Times, Jones won Dallas county (which includes Selma) by upwards of 7,000 votes. While that may not sound like much, he handily defeated Moore by securing nearly 75 percent of the votes to Moore's 25 percent.

For Bernice King, a daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., knowing Selma helped defeat Moore, who was criticized for his racist views in addition to his alleged sexual misconduct with multiple teenagers, was especially poignant. (He denies the allegations.) Back in 2011, Moore said getting rid of every amendment after the tenth would "eliminate many problems." The 13th amendment abolished slavery and the 15th guarantees the right to vote to all citizens, regardless of race or ethnicity.

At a September rally, Moore invoked slavery when describing what President Trump means when he says, "Make America great again." The Los Angeles Times reported Moore said of pre-Civil War America, "I think it was great at a time when families were united, even though we had slavery, they cared for one another. People were strong in the families. Our families were strong, our country had a direction, and we corrected many of the problems."

Those comments clearly weren't lost on King when she tweeted, "Selma, Lord, Selma. It's no coincidence that Selma, where blood was shed in the struggle for voting rights for Black people, pushed #DougJones ahead for good," as the results came in.

When a Twitter user pointed out that Jones even quoted MLK Jr. in his acceptance speech — telling the crowd "Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice" — King took note. 

In preparing for the election yesterday, many celebrities and ordinary Americans alike wrote "Dear Alabama" tweets encouraging Alabamians to vote with their conscience, and not simply based on party lines. In her tweet Selma director Ava DuVernay signaled the city out for its exemplary past, writing, "Dear Alabama, Remember the best of yourselves. You've done it before. Selma marches. Montgomery bus boycott. Birmingham bombing activists. Tuskegee airmen fighting for this country. Rise again." 

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