Daughter of Slave Casts Vote, Remembers Struggle

Amanda Jones, 109, remembers lifelong battle for equality.

Oct. 31, 2008 — -- At 109 years young, Amanda Jones can still remember when the idea of blacks having the right to vote was as far-fetched as the idea of desegregation.

Born in 1899, the former housewife and cleaning lady has lived in three centuries. They were three centuries of struggle from her father's oppression as a slave in Texas to her own battle for equality.

It was not just her race, but her gender that kept Jones from the polls. Women did not get the right to vote until she was 21 years old.

"I think it's very important that she got to vote in this election knowing all that she's seen and all that she's been through," Brenda Baker, Jones' granddaughter, told "Good Morning America."

The first time she voted, Jones was forced to pay a poll tax. She said she voted for FDR, but does not remember which of his four terms that was.

This time, she mailed in her ballot for Barack Obama. For the daughter of a man born into slavery, it was more than a vote; it was a milestone.

"I thought I'd never have this opportunity to vote for a colored man," she said.

Jones' father urged her to vote when casting a ballot meant facing threats and intimidation. Generations later, she reminds her children and grandchildren to honor that privilege and remember the struggle.

"You should never pass up your right that so many people fought so hard for," Baker said. "That's the one way you can make your voice be heard is by voting."