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Black leaders encourage citizens to vote on Tuesday, Sept. 17

9/13/2013, 6 a.m.

— Carl O. Snowden, the convener of the Caucus of African American Leaders (CAAL) announced that African American leaders in the City of Annapolis are making an all-out effort to ensure that African Americans vote in the Annapolis City Primaries on Tuesday, September 17, 2013.

African Americans have served on the City Council since 1873 with only one exception from 1906 through 1915 blacks were disenfranchised by the Maryland General Assembly. Black leaders sued to win back the right to vote, and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1915 returned their right to vote in that year.

Currently, they are three African Americans on the City Council and they are Alderman Kenny Kirby, Alderwoman Shelia Finlayson and retiring Alderwoman Classie G. Hoyle. Running in the Annapolis Democratic Primary to replace Alderwoman Hoyle is Rhonda Pindell Charles, a lawyer and community activist.

African Americans make up less than 1/3 of the city's population, however, they have been deciding factor in the last five mayoral elections. They were credited with the reason that Mayor Josh Cohen won election in 2009.

The Annapolis City Council unanimously passed a resolution recently renaming its City Council chambers after the late Mayor John T. Chambers, Jr., who was only African American to serve as mayor.

Snowden, who served on the City Council for three terms, stressed the need for people to vote. "The gains that we have made in this city came as a result of people exercising their right to vote," he said. The black elected officials on the City Council have formally endorsed current Mayor Josh Cohen.

"It is important that African Americans go to the polls in the city of Annapolis. The greatest march that they can participate in is the march to the ballot box on September 17," Snowden said.

Transportation will be provided to the polls. If voters need a ride, they may call 410-269-1524.