A Mississippi Black man, who was born on a plantation 99 years ago, was able to cast his ballot this election.
According to CNN, Robert H. Smith Sr. was born May 9, 1921, the son of a sharecropper in Rayville, Louisiana. Smith served in the Army during World War II and was a college professor at numerous HBCUs.
Smith stood in line in Jackson, Mississippi to drop off his ballot on October 24. ABC News reports that he stood in line while wearing his face mask and an “I Voted” sticker.
“I remember when I couldn’t vote,” Smith told the network.
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Smith says he wasn’t allowed to register to vote in Louisiana when he turned 21 in 1942. He was able to cast his first ballot in 1946 after he returned from World War II.
Smith would later earn his bachelor’s degree from Southern University (now Southern University and A&M College) in Baton Rouge, and his master’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Afterward, Smith was hired as a professor at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee and worked there for 20 years.
“I lived through the whole process of gaining the ballot, so being able to participate was satisfying for me,” Smith told CNN. “It was very pleasing to see so many people out to vote. And to be a part of the excitement that was going on around me.”