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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

The Price of Political Independence for African-Americans

By Donald V. Watkins ©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on August 29, 2016; Updated on August 16, 2023

An Editorial Opinion

In recent weeks, I have been flooded with calls from politicos and friends from around the nation. They all wanted to know privately whether I am supporting Donald Trump, Joe Biden, or someone else for president.

At this time, I am not committed to any presidential candidate. I will not commit to any candidate until after party nominees for president have been chosen.

Of course, I will be voting in the November 2024 presidential elections for the candidate of my choice. My African-American ancestors paid an unimaginable price in blood, sweat, and tears to secure my right to vote in America.

To me, the right to vote is sacred. For decades, conservative political forces in my home state of Alabama have tried to take this right from me. Despite their best efforts, they failed to do so.

As an Independent voter, I will be voting for the presidential candidate whose core values are closest to mine.

Additionally, I am working diligently to reach, educate, and persuade up to 2 million Independent voters of all races in six swing states to follow my recommendation on a preferred presidential candidate. Since August 25, 2022, I have made substantial progress in this regard.

My Familial History Shaped and Defined My Core Values

I have stated on many occasions that my core values were passed down to me from: (a) my paternal grandparents, Adam and Sallie Watkins; (b) my maternal grandparents, Reverend Willie Varnado and his wife Etta: (c) my parents, Levi and Lillian Watkins; (d) my siblings, Marie, Pearl, Levi, Jr., Doristine, and James; (e) and my family’s close friends and frequent overnight guests, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Reverend Ralph David Abernathy, Mrs. Rosa Parks, and Dr. Maya Angelou.

I live by these core family values everyday and I have passed them down to my five children. They have passed them down to their children. Hopefully, these core values will be passed down to the seventh generation in the Watkins family, which began last month with the birth of my great granddaughter, Azayah Jordan Deese.

My core values are simple:

1. I believe in God. 2. I believe that all men and women are created equal. 3. I believe that we should lead our lives in a way that sets a good example for others to follow. 4. I believe that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their ethnicity, age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, or socio-economic station in life. 5. I believe that we should honor our fathers and mothers, as well as the many sacrifices they have made for the benefit of our families and communities. 6. I believe that a great education is the most important building block for success in life because superior knowledge is the strongest form of power on the planet. 7. I believe in public service as a civic duty, and it should be given without any expectation of a financial reward or public recognition. 8. I believe in setting personal goals and working hard toward achieving them. 9. I believe that all citizens are entitled to: (a) equal rights under the law, (b) an equal opportunity to compete on a level playing field for a successful future, and (c) equal government services that are rendered free of corruption. 10. I believe in truth, honesty, and ethics in government and in life. 11. I believe that government service should be a sacrifice, not a pathway to personal enrichment. 12. I believe in the fair administration of justice. 13. I believe in freedom of speech, without fear of retaliation or reprisals. 14. I believe in standing up for deserving individuals who are not in a position to stand up to government or private sector tyrants. 15. I believe in participatory democracy, as opposed to the oligarchies that are spreading across America. 16. I believe in superior American military might and using it to keep America safe from foreign enemies. 17. I believe that constructive criticism is the most sincere form of loyalty. 18. I believe in apologizing when I make an error in judgment or a mistake that hurts innocent people. 19. I believe in learning something positive from our mistakes in life. 20. I believe in standing up for what is right, even if I have to stand alone.

The Price Paid for My Right to Vote

My political independence cannot be bought or bossed. Those blacks who came to America in the hellholes of slave ships, who were denigrated, separated, and dehumanized during slavery, who were burned alive, mutilated and lynched during the 100 years of Jim Crow, who were beaten, tortured and murdered by segregationists during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, and who protected my life during the most dangerous years of my legal career as a civil rights lawyer in Alabama paid the price in full for my political independence.

In light of our history in America, I will never surrender my independence to anyone, or any political party.


I do not live on, or feed off of, any political party's plantation. I left plantation politics in 2001, and never looked back.

I love the freedom of thought and expression that comes with being a political Independent.

I do not take money from political candidates. I usually contribute money to the ones I support. The views expressed in my article on social media are my own, and not those of any political candidate.

Finally, I am proud to be an American. Despite the ugly chapters in America's history and the proliferation of political demagogues, the United States is the greatest nation the world has ever known.


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