Annie Johnson Benifield’s says her father served in WWII, but didn’t have the right to vote.
HOUSTON — Not being able to vote, is not ancient history, not something Annie Johnson Benifield had to read in a book, her father, a son of a former slave, was first allowed to vote when he was in his 50s.
“The past is not so long ago for me,” Johnson Benifield told KHOU 11. “Being the second generation in my family born out of slavery. My father was a first generation born out of slavery, and he lived to be 90 years old and he voted in every single election until his passing in 2004.”
Johnson Benifield shares the family stories with her government and politics students at Lone Star College-Tomball. KHOU 11 followed her around at a drive-thru voter registration site, one of many she was working as part of her League of Women Voters of Houston volunteer job. Johnson Benifield is the VP of Voter Services for the Houston chapter.
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“My dad was drafted in World War II where he had no say, he had no ability to advocate for himself, to cast a ballot to select a political leader,” Johnson Benifield said. “to determine his faith and we were fighting for freedom and democracy around the world. At least that’s the avocation that that’s what was happening. But at the same time, he had no say in that process. And then as a 50 plus-year-old man, he was born in 1912, he didn’t get a chance to cast a ballot until the 1968 presidential election, in direct response to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
Three League of Women Voters area chapters joined forces with the Harris County Libraries