Carolina woman has waited all her life to cast historic vote

In 1960, Kathleen Blake cast her first vote for John Kennedy

Carolina woman has waited all her life to cast historic vote

While all eyes are on the top of the presidential ticket, there are women looking at other names on the ballot. Names that, win or lose, are making history.

Sen. Kamala Harris is the first Black woman on a presidential ticket. One Gastonia woman calls Harris a sister.

“I just think it’s time for us to realize the potential of African American women,” said Kathleen Blake.

She sees that potential in Harris, the vice presidential nominee on the Democratic ticket, as well as the woman holding the hopes and dreams of so many Black women.

Blake said she has waited all of her life, 79 years, to cast this vote.

“It was like, ‘Yes, we have a woman I can vote for. A woman who is very qualified and capable,’” she said.

Blake went to a segregated school in Bessemer City. She was a debutante and salutatorian but knew that being Black and a woman meant being overlooked.

“Sometimes, I think that we do a better job than some males in the same position,” Blake said.

Blake got a scholarship to Talladega College in Alabama and became a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. The same sorority that Harris joined.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that we are a sisterhood,” Blake said.

In 1960, she cast her first vote for John Kennedy. A winning ticket.

She said back then, no party would seriously consider a woman, let alone a Black woman as a nominee.

“At that time we were still thinking about the men running for that position,” she said.

She would wait 60 years for election night. She wore her sorority jacket and her emotions on her sleeves as she watched the returns.

She positioned books from Black woman authors around the room and spoke as if their eyes were glued to the screen too.

“It is historical,” she said.