In ‘Talk Show,’ author C. Sharpe examines the timely topic of voter suppression and its long history in the U.S. through the lens of a fictional short story
Following the 2020 election, the topic of voting rights has risen to the forefront of political discussion and debate. In his latest book, author and educator Charlton Sharpe, who writes under the pen name C. Sharpe, sends a simple message – everyone should have the right to vote. In “Talk Show: Inmates Voting a Short Story,” Sharpe lays the groundwork for voting rights to be extended to all Americans incarcerated for nonviolent offences and delves into the insidious history behind denying inmates their voting rights.
“Talk Show” is a short story that unfolds in a screenplay-style format. A radio show host named Ray Thompson interviews his guest, Charles Sharpe, about a fictional Proposition X and takes questions from an eclectic mix of callers. In the story, Proposition X is implied to have been passed in California, reinstating the voting rights of nonviolent incarcerated American citizens in the state.
As Charles takes each caller’s questions, he drives listeners back to the core of the issue, explaining how President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation did indeed free enslaved people, and the Reconstruction Era saw previously enslaved people soar into political office in the South. But that freedom was short-lived, and the creation of Jim Crow laws swiftly followed. These laws led to disenfranchisement for Black people and People of Color, particularly in the polls where poll taxes and literacy tests were implemented. Laws targeting nonviolent activity, such as “loitering” and “insulting hand gestures,” were also introduced and resulted in the mass incarceration of vulnerable populations.
“After working with inmates as a GED teacher, one day an inmate asked me the question: Why is it that in America, inmates have voting rights in only two states, Maine and Vermont? That question was posed to me over 20 years ago, and I still have not found a justified answer,” Sharpe said. “That query is truly what inspired me to write this book. I would like for readers to be ready to abolish one of the last Jim Crow voting suppression tactics being used today – the strategy of locking up Black and Brown people to take away their voting rights.”
Ultimately, “Talk Show” provides a poignant call to action and educates readers on the disenfranchisement faced by vulnerable voters. Sharpe’s book also raises support for and awareness around the constitutional right to vote for nonviolent offenders.
“Talk Show: Inmates Voting a Short Story”
By C. Sharpe
ISBN: 978-1-6641-4922-9 (sc); ISBN: 978-1-6641-4921-2 (e); ISBN: 978-1-6641-5614-2 (audio)
Available through Xlibris, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Audible
About the author
Charlton Sharpe, who writes under the pen name C. Sharpe, is an educator and advocate for nationwide inmate voting rights. Sharpe’s book “Talk Show” is based on his own life. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in social science from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Master of Arts degree in education from the University of Phoenix. Sharpe is also the author of “The Next Election,” and he currently resides in Pittsburg, Calif. To learn more, please visit http://www.ctsharpe.com.
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