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1985. A tireless fighter for voting rights in Perry County, Alabama, Albert Turner became the state director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Twenty years later he, with other Black leaders, was indicted for vote fraud by the Reagan Justice Department.
I was part of Martin Luther King's funeral procession. It was my job to lead one of the mules that pulled the carriage his body was on. I vowed that day that I would not let Martin's dream die. I felt the rest of my life should be dedicated to the struggle. I never left the movement even though the street demonstrations subsided. Registering people to vote and making a change in this society - I never stopped that. There was a senator from Alabama by the name of Jeremiah Denton, who was just barely elected on Reagan's coattails six years before. He knew the next election would be close enough for us to affect his ability to get back in Washington. That's when they accused me of actually getting a bunch of absentee ballots and marking my wishes on them. They saw the charge of vote fraud as an opportunity to kill us oft here in the Black Belt. I say that because the FBI agents offered me a plea bargain: I could be placed on probation for five years and do no jail time had I agreed not to participate in politics during that five years. And I said, "Send me to jail." Then they told me they were going to do all the could to get me. They did spend two million dollars on it, but eventually, we won.