Local Woman Regains Voting Rights After Nearly 50 Years
Richmond, VA— Nearly fifty years later, a local woman's voting rights have been restored after a mistake she made as a young woman.
Lavern Wilson was only 18 when she stole two dresses, on September 3, 1964.
"I went into a Miller and Rhode department store in Willow Lawn and I took two dresses. They were 20 dollars a piece."
Wilson was charged with petty larceny, and spent a year in prison. After she got out of jail, it was difficult for her to find a job. But one of the most troubling results of her crime: she lost her voting rights for almost 50 years.
In October, Governor Bob McDonnell granted Wilson a pardon, allowing her to participate in the 2012 Election. The Virginia State National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) registered more than 36,000 voters this year…Lavern Wilson was one of them.
While she is now eligible to serve on a jury, or run for public office. But the civic duty she most cherishes? Her right to vote. She says, "I just thank God that this is over with, and I can cast my vote."