With Images of Civil Rights, Blacks Urged to Vote

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After the service, disabled veteran Stoney Springfield said he planned to vote for Democrats on Election Day but still was finalizing his decisions.

Springfield said he thinks Obama has done "an excellent job," despite dealing with issues left over from the Republican administration of George W. Bush. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began under Bush, and the economy had started to falter before Obama took office.

"He inherited a lot of these problems that we're dealing with," said Springfield, 48, of Jackson, Tenn. "He's trying to adjust everything to where we can have a better future."

As did several black pastors on Sunday, the Rev. George McRae, pastor of Mount Tabor Missionary Baptist Church in Miami's tough Liberty City neighborhood, invoked the civil rights struggle.

"Even though thousands of our brothers and sisters had to die in the struggle that we might be able to go in a voting booth and vote for the candidate of our choice, thank you, Lord!" McRae said at the pulpit.

Among the congregants in McRae's church: U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, Florida's Democratic nominee for Senate, and his mother, Carrie Meek, who was one of the first blacks elected to the U.S. House from Florida since Reconstruction. If he wins Tuesday — a long shot according to most observers — Meek would be Florida's first black senator.

Some worshippers lamented that the calls of "Yes, We Can!" from two years ago have faded.

At Friendship Baptist Church in Toledo, Ohio, 52-year-old Sandra Gill said she planned to take her pastor's advice and vote. However, she said, church members aren't making phone calls, wearing Obama t-shirts and buttons, and hosting voting parties like they did in 2008.

"There was excitement two years ago," she said. "We still have to keep the momentum going. We had a sense of pride. There was a feeling that we can do this. Maybe people feel we did what we needed to do."

Then, people voted for change, said 45-year-old Camelia Matthews on her way to the late service at the Mother African Union Church in Wilmington, Del. Matthews, who voted for Obama, pledged to vote Tuesday.

"I would like to help Obama with what his office is trying to do," she said.

The church was arranging transportation to the polls for people like JoeAnn Conyer, 89, who said she's anxious to vote in the U.S. Senate race for Democrat Chris Coons. Coons is leading in the polls against GOP tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell.

Conyer said Obama inherited "a lot of baggage" when he took office and deserves more time to get the country back on track.

"He's not doing all this on his own," she said.

Cheryl Moore, 61, similarly explained her duty to vote, saying Obama can be successful only if those in Congress understand what common people are going through.

"It's important that we make sure the balance of power remains the balance of power," said Moore, who voted for Obama in 2008.

"He needs more time."

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