“The division – the racial divide – has motivated people of color, I think,” said Belinda George, a local resident. “People have seen the consequences of sitting down. They saw what is going on.
The region, which includes a number of the state’s predominantly black counties, can at times be overlooked due to the more well-known and more populous black communities to the east and south.
“Sometimes for presidential candidates and small rural counties like us, the engagement piece isn’t always a priority,” said Nick Fryson, a young organizer.
In Gadsden, as is the case in many black communities across the country, there are two driving forces behind the political mobilization; Older black voters are often affected by their churches, while the younger, non-religious population is targeted by a loose network of community groups and progressive organizations.
This is the second of these which has been an explicit mission for the older volunteers. Recently, during a rainstorm in Florida, many said they were encouraging residents to vote early and pushing an urgent message: defeating Mr. Trump was personal, so make sure your vote counts.
At one point, a volunteer named Clydie Young asked her 36-year-old daughter the question of the moment: “What do you think of Trump?”
“Am I allowed to curse?” Kahwani Young fired back. When her mother disapproved, she decided it wasn’t worth responding. “So I have nothing to say.”
Jonathan Martin reported from Jacksonville, Florida; Patricia Mazzei of Miramar, Florida, and Astead W. Herndon of Quincy, Florida.