When Kimberly Wallace opened the news after arriving home on Friday night, she saw Georgia’s Govia Brian Kemp sign a critics’ bill that critics call Jim Crow 2.0 because of the potential disruption to voters, especially Black voters.
But Wallace, who is Black, noticed something in the room where Kemp signed the bill. On the wall, he said, was a painting depicting a field where members of his family worked, returning to slavery.
Wallace said at first, he never thought twice about the painting. But “while watching the news last night, and seeing what farm it was, this is the plant my family used to work on.”
When he saw that it was a Callaway Plantation in Wilkes County, Georgia, “I gasped,” he said.
Generations of his family worked when they returned from slavery, Wallace said. Recently, his father was a stockbroker in the field.
The light of Kemp’s signing of the law before the painting “was very contemptible and disrespectful to me, my family, to the Black people of Georgia,” Wallace said.
Office of the Gov. Kemp did not return CNN’s request for comment.
Republicans have defended this measure, called the Election Integrity Act of 2021, which says it is necessary to boost confidence in voting after last year’s election. Kemp said the law “will ensure that Georgia’s elections are secure, secure and accessible.”
The law incorporates new voter identification requirements for non-existent ballots, gives state officials the power to take local election boards, restricts the use of ballot boxes and criminalizes voters waiting in line to provide them with food and water.
“Part of not being able to provide water to people, part of not feeding people, what is that like?” Said Wallace. “What in their minds would think it’s wrong to give a thirsty person water, in any case, whether you’re voting, whatever. It’s ridiculous. You must be making it easier for people to vote, not too hard.”
The arrest of Democrat State Attorney Park Cannon on Friday also angered Wallace. A black state attorney was arrested after he knocked on the door of Kemp’s office while protesting against the bill.
“That all represented the whole thing that is happening in Georgia right now. Black people are coming out, Black people are voting, they don’t like that,” Wallace said. “So they will try their best to stop it.”
Wallace said his father was a stockbroker, picking cotton in the field. He was drafted to serve in his native Vietnam, and when he returned from the war, he was told to use the back door of a restaurant.
Wallace was in a meeting Saturday outside Atlanta City Hall to protest against the new voters’ law. As long as the current state of affairs does not change from Georgia’s past, efforts to prevent people from voting will fail, he said.
“It will not be right, because we are motivated by the power of our ancestors, and we will change things. A new Georgia.”