In South Carolina, African-Americans Struggle To Make Sense Of Election

Nov 9, 2016
Originally published on November 9, 2016 6:35 pm
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And now a view from some African-Americans in conservative South Carolina. NPR's Debbie Elliott spoke with voters trying to make sense of the election.

DEBBIE ELLIOT, BYLINE: Ernestyne Adams welcomes Sammie Tucker, Jr., to her home in Camden, S.C., a small town just outside the state capitol, Columbia.

ERNESTYNE ADAMS: Hey, there.

SAMMIE TUCKER, JR: Good morning. Good morning.

ADAMS: How are you, young man?

TUCKER: I'm doing fine. How are you?

ADAMS: Good, darling.

ELLIOT: She's 82, a retired professor. He's 50, the local NAACP president and was just re-elected to the County Council. Both are Hillary Clinton supporters, like nine of 10 black voters in South Carolina. They're celebrating the election of Camden's first black woman mayor, but are more somber about Donald Trump's victory.

ADAMS: I was not surprised.

TUCKER: I was.

ADAMS: No, I wasn't.

TUCKER: And I had to catch my breath, regroup and figure out - OK, what just took place? What - how did this happen?

ADAMS: Exit polls show African-American turnout was down. That bothers Tucker.

TUCKER: I think a lot of us stayed home, that we did not come out and vote like we did for President Obama.

ELLIOT: Ernestyne Adams sees the results as a response to the first black president.

ADAMS: And I do think that it was white backlash.

ELLIOT: She says the divide in the nation comes as no surprise.

ADAMS: I was disappointed because I thought in America, we could rise above this.

ELLIOT: For her, talk of making America great again is disturbing.

ADAMS: What I hear it is return to the days when white people were in control of nearly everything.

ELLIOT: Adams says she was glad to hear Trump talk of unity when he won, but questions why that message wasn't part of his campaign. Debbie Elliott, NPR News, Camden, S.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.