Monday, October 29, 2012

Soulful Sounds In Honor Of "Souls To The Polls" Early Voting Efforts

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post honors the "Souls To The Polls" early voting efforts by showcasing five musical selections whose titles include the word "soul". Information & comments about "Souls To The Polls" initiatives & a video about the "Souls To The Polls" project in Ohio are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for historical, sociological, aesthetic, and entertainment purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

"Souls To The Polls" are community specific initiatives to recruit potential voters and help facilitate transportation for those persons who need it so that they can get to early voting locations on those days when such voting is permitted. While these initiatives are primarily church based, participants in "Souls To The Polls" efforts don't have to be members of the church which is sponsoring that particular initiative. Nor do participants have to be members of any church or religious organization.

The title "Souls To The Polls" creatively uses in-rhyming (rhyming withing a phrase) to quickly convey the purpose of that effort. The word "souls" has two meanings in the context of the "Souls To The Polls" initiative. "Souls" has a spiritual meaning, given this initiative's majority sponsorship by churches. Secondly, "soul people" is a familiar colloquial synonym for "Black people". Black people's connection to our soul is said to be reflected in the way we "live, and move, and have our being". The colloquial definition of "soul" meaning "Black folks" fits the "Souls To The Polls" title for these early voting efforts as the majority of those who coordinate "Souls For The Polls" initiatives are African Americans and the majority of the people who participate in "Souls To The Polls" initiatives are African Americans.

In the United States, voting locations are known as "polls".

"The name "SOULS to the POLLS" is taken from a 2008 voting initiative in parts of Florida that allowed citizens to vote the last Sunday before the general election. Pastors would typically emphasize the importance of voting during morning worship and following service, congretants [sic] would collectively sojourn to the polls. According to the NAACP, statistics showed that in the 2008 general election in Florida, 33.2% of those who voted early on the last Sunday before Election Day were African-American, while 23.6% were Hispanic"...

"Souls to the Polls carries on Sunday tradition"
7:15 p.m. EST, October 28, 2012|By Jeff Kunerth, Orlando Sentinel

"The line of cars, vans, and church buses backed up for blocks on Kaley Street as hundreds of voters participated Sunday in a Souls to the Polls early-voting event at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office.

The traditional day for early voting among black churches is the Sunday just before Election Day, but this year the Florida Legislature shortened the number of days for early voting, eliminating that Sunday.

You can take a Sunday away, but you can't take away our vote or our voice," said Bishop Kelvin L. Cobaris, pastor of the Livingston Street Church of God in Orlando.

Cobaris said about 75 members from his church carpooled to the early-voting event, organized by the African American Council of Christian Clergy.

Other churches and community groups participated in a Souls to Polls effort held by the Federation of Congregations United to Serve, a multiracial collective of clergy and congregations in Orange County. Their effort, aimed at black and Hispanic voters in Orlando and Kissimmee, was part of an early-voting effort by PICO United Florida, a statewide network of faith-based federations.

"Across the board, our faith congregations at FOCUS understand the importance of this one Sunday of early voting," said Executive Director Liz Buckley.

Muslim organizations also organized an early-voting drive Sunday in Orlando.

"We want to get them out early and build momentum in the community," said Rasha Mubarak, regional field coordinator for Emerge USA, an Islamic civil-rights organization. "For us, this is very important for us to go out to the polls because of the anti-Islamic rhetoric we have seen in this election."

Orlando police rerouted the procession of vehicles along Kaley down Atlanta Avenue, where people parked and walked to the elections office in dark suits and long dresses, ties and T-shirts, jeans and dress slacks, heels, sandals and sneakers. They walked the narrow path in the grass by a recycling center, across the railroad tracks, and past the political signs that lined the street like a crowd waiting for a parade...

By early evening Sunday, 1,622 people had voted at the Supervisor of Elections office, according to election officials."
Souls To The Polls efforts are also supported by Black fraternity and sorority organizations. The woman wearing a pink tee shirt with green letters who was featured in this article is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

While "Souls To The Polls" efforts are non-partisan, it's likely that the majority of voters -if not all of the voters- who participated in thsse initiatives support the re-election of President Barack Obama.

There are also "Souls To The Polls" early voting efforts in the state of Ohio and in other African American communities throughout the United States where early voting is possible.
Unfortunately, there's no early voting (except for absentee voting under certain conditions) in my state of Pennsylvania.


High court allows early voting in Ohio

wcpo, Published on Oct 16, 2012

Local pastor talks about he court's decision.

(These examples are posted in no particular order.)

Video #1: Soulful Strut/Young-Holt Unlimited

oldies 55, Uploaded on Aug 22, 2008

put your soul in a groove

Video #2: The Bar-Kays - "Soul Finger" (1967)


Uoloaded on Aug 29, 2010

Released in 1967, great performance and song.

Video #3: Arthur Conley - Sweet Soul Music


Uploaded on Oct 25, 2006

Classic Arthur Conley music video from the mid 60's on The Rick Shaw TV Show, Miami, FL

Genre:Funk Soul

Video #4: "Memphis Soul Stew" (live) King Curtis & The Kingpins

McGarVision, Uploaded on Feb 8, 2008

The only band that could make Booker T & The MG's sweat. "And now we need a pound of fat back drums..." King Curtis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 6, 2000.

Video #5: Sam & Dave - Soul Man (1967)

bluesouland, Published on Apr 18, 2013
This video was added on 11/5/2016 to replace a video that is no longer available.

Thanks to all those who conceptualized the "Souls To The Polls" effort. Thanks also to those who coordinate and who volunteer for "Souls To The Polls" early voting efforts in the United States.

My thanks to the vocalists and musicians who are featured in this video, and thanks to the writer of the article which is excerpted in this post.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.

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