An interesting article by Douglas Blackmon, Pulitizer Prize winning author of “Slavery By Another Name” and co-founder of the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School. Blackmon details the level of African-American support for Amendment 1:
In the 20 Georgia counties where African-Americans make up half or more of the population, the amendment was approved by 61% of all voters and in 14 of those 20 counties. (In two of the other six counties, the amendment still got 49% of the vote; in the other four, support ranged from 42-44%). In the 13 counties where more than half of Georgia’s three million black citizens live, the margin of support was even higher: 62% approval.
The bottom line: Georgia’s black counties overwhelmingly desire dramatic new alternatives to the conventional school systems that have failed them for more than a century.
The support of Amendment 1 among African-Americans is also notable against the backdrop of the Georgia Supreme Court decision in May 2011 that struck down as unconstitutional a previous version of the state charter commission. That ruling on a lawsuit organized by school boards that oppose all charter schools led directly to the campaign for Amendment 1. In the 2011 ruling, the Supreme Court ignored some substantive issues around state funding that in truth needed judicial scrutiny, and instead struck down the old commission using a cruelly naïve logic that would have been comical if it had not been so nauseatingly ironic. The court reached all the way back to Georgia’s defunct constitution of 1877–a white supremacist document passed expressly to end the brief period of true citizenship enjoyed by formerly enslaved African-Americans after the Civil War–and cited as the basis of their ruling against the charter school commission the very constitutional article that first mandated racially segregated schools in Georgia.
Please read the entire article. As the article points out, the county which gave Amendment 1 the highest level of support? Clayton County.