DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Dayton Municipal Court Judge’s journey to the bench began in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Era. This was when her mother dared to vote, making history and starting a legacy for her family.
Dierdre Logan has lived in Dayton for several years, first serving as the Chief Prosecutor and Deputy City Attorney for DAYTON before becoming a municipal judge in 2009.
“When I looked around at prosecutors and police departments, I didn’t see a lot of Blacks or a lot of Black females. So I felt we needed representation,” said Judge Logan.
Logan now has the power as a judge to impact her community. But in the 1960’s her mother, Florene Logan was fighting to make an impact as well.
“At that time there was no automatic right for Blacks [to vote]. You had to somehow prove that you were worthy of that right to vote,” explained Judge Logan.
Florene Logan shared that there were poll taxes and tests that were required of her before she could vote when she was in her 20’s. The taxes and tests were just some of the ways that Black people had to “prove” their right to vote. They were also unconstitutional practices that were a result of the Jim Crow era and laws.
Despite these barriers, Florene Logan was determined to pass. Logan went with her mother-in-law and a neighbor to vote. Logan helped her family and friends to fill out the legacy test and essay so that they could be registered to vote. At the time, Logan was the only one able to read and write.
“Then it made other people think ‘Maybe i can do it too?'” shared Logan about her experience.
The right to vote is something that Civil Rights activists fought and even died for. Florene Logan was determined to pass down the gravitus and importance of voting to her children.
Still today, Florene keeps the reminders of the time when she had to prove her right to vote as an American citizen packed away in a box. They show that these difficult times for the Black community are not fabricated, and happened not that long ago.
Even with a former Black president, a current Black female vice president and record Black voting numbers in the last election, Florene says there’s still room for growth.
“I don’t think [that] we’re as far as we could have been. A lot of us slouched off and didn’t vote and I think [voting is] important. Even after we could vote, we didn’t go vote. We came up with all these excuses. So I’m saying we could have been further along than we are now, but im not going to give up,” she shared.
Florene Logan now lives in Dayton and is always surrounded by her four children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.