“The divisiveness — the racial divide — it has motivated people of color, I think,” Belinda George, a local resident, said. “People have seen the consequences of sitting out. They’ve seen what’s going on.”
The region, which includes a number of the state’s mostly heavily Black counties, can sometimes be overlooked because of the better-known and more populous Black communities to the east and the south.
“Sometimes, for presidential candidates and small rural counties that look like us, the engagement piece is not always a priority,” Nick Fryson, a young organizer, said.
In Gadsden, as is true in many Black communities across the country, there are two driving forces behind political mobilization; older Black voters are often reached through their churches, while the younger and more nonreligious population is targeted by a loose network of community groups and progressive organizations.
It’s the second of these that has been an explicit mission for the older volunteers. Powering through a trademark Florida rainstorm recently, many said they were encouraging residents to vote early and pushing an urgent message: Defeating Mr. Trump was personal, so ensure your vote will count.
At one point, a volunteer named Clydie Young posed the question of the moment to her 36-year-old daughter: “What do you think about Trump?”
“Am I allowed to curse?” Kahwani Young shot back. When her mother disapproved, she decided it wasn’t worth answering. “Then I’ve got nothing to say.”
Jonathan Martin reported from Jacksonville, Fla.; Patricia Mazzei from Miramar, Fla., and Astead W. Herndon from Quincy, Fla.