Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Out in the Nick of Time

Yesterday, as part of the election coverage, I was assigned to follow the Columbia branch of the NAACP. Throughout the day, they were offering rides to the polls and going from place to place encouraging citizens to vote. So I went with the president Mary Ratliff to go find people and ask them if they had voted. As she spoke, I snapped some pictures and got people's names for The Maneater newspaper. After a couple of stops, we pulled into Douglass Park at what I estimate to be somewhere between noon and 12:15 p.m. There, dozens of men sat smoking and drinking, but Ratliff was not afraid at all to go up to them. She encouraged them to vote, and many of them said they already had. After a while, we left and went around to other areas of town to spread the word. 

We got back to the headquarters, and I took off for one of my classes. Later that evening, I returned to the NAACP headquarters for more reporting and Ratliff came up and told me some startling news. A little before 1 p.m., someone had been shot six times to death at  Douglass Park. My first reaction was to thank God that He got me out of there in time. I could not believe that we had been there only minutes before. My second reaction was one of pensiveness. Was the victim someone I had talked to? Could he have been in one of my pictures? I still do not know the answer to those questions, but I know that my eyes were opened yesterday. I am not sure to what exactly, but they were certainly opened.

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