THE UNITY GROUP PRESENTS
BLACK VOTERS MATTER
The Unity Group has long voting as a bedrock of democracy that should not be denied or abridged.
The first position the Group targeted in 1969 was the Commissioner of Health and Education on the Chattanooga City Commission. A list of 4 candidates, who were Mr. George (Cubby) James, Mr. William Days, Mr. Ervin Overton, and Johnny Franklin. The Group decided on Mr. Johnny Franklin as having the best chance of winning the seat on the City Commission. Mr. Franklin won that seat and became the first Black Elected to a position on the Chattanooga City Commission.
Another first for the Unity Group was the reshaping of the Tennessee State Legislative 28th District and the election of C. B. Robinson to the General Assembly.
Local Activism in Voting
The Unity Group was also very active in changing the Hamilton County Council to the now Hamilton County Commission. The Group provided the framework for the 9th district seat and helped elect two Black to the Hamilton County Commission Seat. They were Rev. Paul A. McDaniel and Atty. Reuben Taylor. Rev. McDaniel was forced to challenge his seat all the way to the Supreme Court before being allowed to take his seat on the County Commission.
The Unity Group remains vigilant in the area of voting rights. This includes restoring the Voting Rights Act that was greatly diminished by the Shelby v. Holder (2013) decision. We stress the need for effective voting that ensures voter protections and heightens the awareness and protection of minority, poor and marginalized communities.
The Unity Group is also part of the Black Voters Matter Network that strives for effective civic engagement that helps communities exercise their constitutional right to vote; amplifies voting as a 365 day proposition; prioritizes the fact that all voters matter and should have their issues heightened; speaks to the relevant issues of these voters; and develops messaging that is able to connect with the needs and relevant issues of distressed and marginalized communities.