Politics & Government

112-year-old Sacramento man awaits election history

George Rene Francis has waited 112 years to see an African-American president.
George Rene Francis has waited 112 years to see an African-American president. Renee C. Byer / Sacramento Bee

George Rene Francis has waited 112 years to see an African-American president. Today, he's glued to a television at his south Sacramento retirement home to watch history in the making.

Francis is already a part of history -- he's considered the oldest man in America, and by casting his absentee ballot for Barack Obama, he's arguably the nation's oldest voter.

"President was the only thing he voted for," said one of his three daughters, Lelia Francis LaRue, who helped him fill out his absentee ballot. "He left everything else blank."

Asked why Obama, Francis replied emphatically, "I think he's great, because he's black! Because the white people thought a negro would never be promoted!"

Larue, 78, said, "As much as we went through" in the Jim Crow south -- forced to the backs of buses and movie theatres in New Orleans -- "he never taught us bigotry or prejudice."

To this day, Francis recites lines from the "The Black Man's Plea for Justice" by Ephraim David Tyler, the poet laureate of Shreveport, Louisiana:I am a citizen. I'm loyal. Will you recognize my votes?

I pay dear for transportation over all of your railroad tracks.

I live up to all requirements, I always pay my tax.

When I don't fill blanks correctly, will you kindly teach me how?

Read the complete story at sacbee.com

  Comments