This morning, thanks to a number of different conversations and events that transpired in the early hours, I was thinking about how so many people are ignorant of how the “Nevertheless We Persisted” mantra originated. It wasn’t until later in the day when scrolling through Facebook and coming across Elizabeth Warren’s post on the subject when I realized it had been four years to the day since the whole incident happened.
I’m not even close to being a historian, but here’s basically what went down, to the best of my understanding:
In 1986, civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, who was also the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote a letter to discourage senators from confirming Jeff Sessions as a federal judge. Ms. King called out Sessions’ record as a US attorney in Alabama and the impact he had on the disenfranchisement of blacks throughout the state.
Four years ago, during Sessions’ confirmation hearing for the US Attorney General role, Warren began to read this letter by Ms. King. Then-Senate-Majority-Leader McConnell silenced Warren for reading the letter, saying it was out of order. He then famously stated after the session was over, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Warren supporters held on to that latter part: Nevertheless She Persisted.
No, I don’t 100% align with all of Warren’s policy positions but I am grateful that she was willing to read that letter. I am grateful that Ms. King continued her work being a voice for the voiceless. I am grateful for people like Stacey Abrams and all activists who refuse to be silenced by those who love power more than justice. Who love greed more than grace. I am grateful for those who persist.