Rosanell Eaton, Activist And Plaintiff In NC Voting-Rights Case, Dies At 97

Rosanell Eaton, Activist And Plaintiff In NC Voting-Rights Case, Dies At 97

8:28pm Dec 10, 2018
Demonstrators march through the streets of Winston-Salem on July 13, 2015, after the beginning of a federal voting rights trial challenging a 2013 state law. Rosanell Eaton was a lead plaintiff in the case. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, file photo)

Rosanell Eaton, a noted African-American voting rights activist from North Carolina, has died. In her 90s she helped challenge voting restrictions supported by the GOP-led legislature.

Eaton got her first taste of voting-rights issues during the Jim Crow era in rural Franklin County. But it was in a Winston-Salem federal courtroom where she became one of the main faces of opposition to changes in the state’s voting laws.

The court determined in the case that tougher ballot access rules adopted in 2013 were written with "almost surgical precision" to discourage black voters like her who tended to support Democrats.

Eaton grew up on a farm and went to segregated schools. Her push for voting rights came in the face of racist attacks. Family members say shots were fired at her house and crosses were lit on fire in her yard.

Her lifetime of civil rights advocacy caught the notice of President Barack Obama, who invited her to the White House in 2016.

Rosanell Eaton was 97 years old.

Copyright 2018 WFDD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.
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