On Tuesday, Senate Democrats held a hearing to condemn election integrity efforts that they characterized as “Jim Crow 2021.”
Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) testified at the hearing, and he ripped the Democrats’ argument to shreds. Owens grew up in the age of Jim Crow, so he knows the evils of segregation first-hand. He contrasted the true racism of that era with the absurd complaints Democrats raise against the Georgia election integrity law. He also exposed the true racism at play in this debate: the bigotry of low expectations.
“As someone who has actually experienced Jim Crow laws, I would like to set the record straight on the myths regarding the recently-passed Georgia state law, and why any comparison between this law and Jim Crow is absolutely outrageous,” Owens declared.
He briefly told his family’s story, beginning with his great-great grandfather Sals Burgess, who came to America “shackled in the belly of a slave ship” but who escaped to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Both Owens’ grandfather and his father served in the military in World War I and World War II, respectively. When his father returned home after the war, “actual Jim Crow laws denied him a post-graduate education. Raised in a generation that used this as motivation, he received his Ph.D. in agronomy at Ohio State University and had a successful career as a professor, researcher, and entrepreneur.”
“I grew up in the era of actual, legalized institutional racism. I grew up in the Deep South in Tallahassee Florida in the 1960s during the days of the KKK, Jim Crow, and segregation,” Owens explained. He became the third black athlete to ever receive a scholarship to play football at the University of Miami. He went on to play in the NFL, found businesses, and serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.