Beacon Press: Let My People Vote
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Let My People Vote

My Battle to Restore the Rights of Returning Citizens

Author: Desmond Meade

The inspiring and eye-opening true story of one man’s undying belief in the power of a fully enfranchised nation.

“You may think the right to vote is a small matter, and if you do, I would bet you have never had it taken away from you.” Thus begins the story of Desmond Meade and his inspiring journey to restore voting rights to roughly 1.4 million returning citizens in Florida—resulting in a stunning victory in 2018 that enfranchised the most people at once in any single initiative since women’s suffrage.

Let My People Vote is the deeply moving, personal story of Meade’s life, his political activism, and the movement he spearheaded to restore voting rights to returning citizens who had served their terms. Meade survived a tough childhood only to find himself with a felony conviction. Finding the strength to pull his life together, he graduated summa cum laude from college, graduated from law school, and married. But because of his conviction, he was not even allowed to sit for the bar exam in Florida. And when his wife ran for state office, he was filled with pride—but not permitted to vote for her.

Meade takes us on a journey from his time in homeless shelters, to the exhilarating, joyful night in November of 2018, when Amendment 4 passed with 65 percent of the vote. Meade’s story, and his commitment to a fully enfranchised nation, will prove to readers that one person really can make a difference.
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“[An] appealing debut memoir . . . This poignant account soars.”
Publishers Weekly

“This is a moving and triumphant story of how ordinary citizens can make a difference.”
Booklist

“Desmond Meade is one of my personal heroes, and his story is an inspiration for all those who aim to build a radically more inclusive democracy.”
—Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

“Check the box and you lose the ability to secure a job, rent an apartment, or get a loan. The formerly incarcerated—returning citizens—often face a cruel irony in America. Having paid their debt to society, too many are banned from the ballot box that could help them dismantle policies that essentially extend their sentences. Desmond Meade decided to break this pattern for 1.4 million Floridians. Homeless and suicidal, with a felony record, Desmond fought to graduate with a law degree. When he learned he could not vote for his own wife, a candidate for the state legislature, he became president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and led the charge to adopt a constitutional amendment to re-enfranchise Floridians with felonies. Amendment 4 needed 60 percent of the vote to pass; in November 2018, it received 65 percent. It was the largest expansion of voting rights in a half century, and Desmond made it happen.”
—Stacey Abrams

“Meade led one of the most impressive grassroots petition drives in state history. He inspired an all-volunteer army that collected 799,000 signatures statewide, enough to force a 2018 ballot initiative that would amend Florida’s constitution and end this insidious vestige of the Jim Crow South.”
—David Daley, Salon

“Amendment 4 . . . could enfranchise more people at once than any single initiative since women’s suffrage. In 2006, Meade became the unpaid head of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. At first, the project often felt like a one-man operation. He put 50,000 miles a year on his car to travel the state and give talks at churches, universities, community events, picnics—anywhere he could gather an audience to hear his message. [Now,] Meade is emerging as a star.”
—Emily Bazelon, The New York Times Magazine, cover story

“A man I deeply admire and respect, Desmond Meade is leading the way.”
—John Legend

PROLOGUE
Love Has Won the Day

ONE
The Railroad Tracks

TWO
Searching for Purpose

THREE
Down on My Knees

FOUR
A Passion for the Law

FIVE
Back to School

SIX
Staying Sober

SEVEN
Community Service Is My Lottery Ticket

EIGHT
Advocacy on Another Level

NINE
David and Goliath

TEN
A Ballot Initiative?

ELEVEN
Law School

TWELVE
Wouldn’t It Be Great If I Made Dean’s List?

THIRTEEN
The Greatest Indicator of Citizenship

FOURTEEN
No Man Is an Island

FIFTEEN
Cooking Up Some Gumbo

SIXTEEN
Blood Is Thicker Than Water

SEVENTEEN
Let’s Rock This Thing

EIGHTEEN
The Home Stretch

EPILOGUE
Love Will Win the Day

Acknowledgments

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Let My People Vote

ISBN: 978-080706232-6
Publication Date: 10/6/2020
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $22.95
Format: Cloth
Availability: In stock.
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