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Thu Oct 1, 2020, 05:29 AM

Why St. Petersburg's Black voters beat national averages

Lynette Hardy found a dusty, metal contraption in the attic of her grandfather’s house. The metal frame has a series of levers near yellowing names. She knew exactly what it was — a sample voting machine from the middle of the 20th century.

Her grandfather, Chester James Sr., is best known as the unofficial mayor of Methodist Town, later renamed Jamestown. He also was instrumental in registering people to vote during the civil rights era.

In 1963, he earned a service award from the NAACP and in 1964 recognition from President Lyndon Johnson for registering 1,000 Black voters. At the time, the census reported 24,000 Black residents.


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