Trump's Incitement Against Shaye Moss over the Georgia Vote Count Carries on a Dark American TraditionRoundup
tags: Georgia, authoritarianism, Donald Trump, 2020 Election, Big Lie
Tera W. Hunter is Edwards Professor of American History and a professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. Her latest book is Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century (2017).
Imagine living in a country in which the head of state identifies you and a loved one by name as nefarious political operatives working against him, and instigating others to hunt you down based on a completely fabricated conspiracy story. Does this sound like this could happen in the United States in 2020? Well, it did happen when former-President Donald Trump accused Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, two African American women, of sabotaging the presidential election in Georgia.
Although it is astonishing to hear open targeting like this originating in the White House, it is just one example of the deep-seated American tradition of racialized political violence targeted against African Americans participating in civic affairs. Make no mistakes about it: Demonizing Black people was a key part of growing the Big Lie.
On Tuesday, during Day 4 of the Jan. 6 hearings, the details of what the committee and millions of people across the country heard from Freeman and Moss harkens back to the eras of abolitionism against slavery, Reconstruction, the history of lynching and the opposition to civil rights activists in the 1960s and beyond.
“The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American. Not to target one. But he targeted me, Lady Ruby, a small-business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen, who stood up to help Fulton County run an election in the middle of the pandemic,” said Freeman.
And targeted is indeed the only way to describe it. Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani told stories at rallies, on TV and on social media that Freeman and Moss, election workers in Atlanta, conspired to commit voter fraud to deny Trump re-election. Trump derisively called Freeman a “hustler” in his notorious call to the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021, fishing for votes to alter the final tally. The former president has a history of regularly attacking Black people he doesn’t like.
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