MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Montgomery County NAACP and the organization Free Hearts came together Sunday to raise awareness about an amendment to abolish slavery from the Tennessee State Constitution
In 1865, Tennessee abolished slavery, but one exception still remains – the State Constitution does allow for slavery and involuntary servitude for punishment for a crime where someone has been “duly convicted.”
“This is 2022. They need to vote to get the language out of our constitution,” said Jimmie Garland, Vice President of the Tennessee State Conference of the NAACP and President of the Clarksville NAACP.
This part of the constitution also raises concern for Jeremy White, who says he spent more than two decades incarcerated.
“The 13th amendment still indicates that if you’ve been dually convicted of a crime in the state of Tennessee, that you’re still subject to slavery,” White said.
Now he and other activists are encouraging Tennesseans to vote “Yes” on Amendment Three to abolish slavery in its entirety.
“It starts with people first language; it starts with recognizing we’re not nobody’s slave, and that they need to remove that language out of the constitution,” White said.
At the end of the day, these activists hope to convince voters not only to consider Amendment Three, but to make sure they actually show up to the polls to vote.
“A lot of people think my vote doesn’t matter. Well, if you don’t vote, it doesn’t matter. If you vote for a candidate of your choice, than the bottom line, no matter whether you win or lose, at least your part of the process,” Garland said.
Amendment Three made it onto the ballot after a 26-to-4 vote in the Senate.
You can see more on this discussion by clicking here.