Election 2014: Blind Lemon Jefferson, The Old Soul


CHAPEL HILL, NC — Born in the heart of Texas in 1893 to two sharecroppers, Blind Lemon Jefferson–BLJ as his supporters call him–did not come to UNC expecting to be part of student government.

“I had to get sinful with the bedbugs, to keep the chinches from takin’ my life,” said Jefferson of his eventual decision to get involved with student politics. “Because the chinches got my number, wrote three letters to my wife.”

Jefferson, who is majoring in computer science and business, says his down-home roots have influenced the way his platform advocates for student needs. Prioritizing tuition decreases, increased student government transparency, and more entrepreneurial activities on campus, the Father of Texas Blues hopes to bring new ideas to an old institution.

“The most important question facing UNC today is exactly what BLJ has been asking: ‘Mmm, mmm, wonder where my black snake gone?’” said Kara Douglas, Jefferson’s campaign manager.

“Ultimately, students want a representative who’s going to fight for them,” Douglas continued, “and when BLJ says something like, ‘Somebody’s been tryin’ to fire your engine, man, ever since you been gone,’ you can see it in the faces of the students. They are fired up and ready to vote for this guy.”

Before his campaign, Blind Lemon was best known on campus as a pioneer of American folk music. But he’s ready now, he says, to move away from that reputation and focus on student issues.

“She got four speeds forward, and she don’t never stall. The way she tops on the hill, it wouldn’t make a panther squall,” Jefferson said, handing out campaign flyers in the Pit.

Asked about how his platform differentiates him from his fellow candidates, Jefferson demurred, though he did mention some issues on which he believes he best carries student interests.

“The ocean ain’t whiskey and I ain’t a no duck,” Jefferson said of Andrew Powell’s push for flipped classrooms, which he said are unpopular with many students who have experienced them. “I’ll play Jack O’ Diamonds and trust to my luck.”

Upon learning, just before press time, that he had received the endorsement of the Center for the American South, Blind Lemon Jefferson set to walkin’ down Cairo street, one dime was all he had. Oh lord, one dime was all he had.

To learn more about Blind Lemon Jefferson, you can visit his Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BLJ4SBP

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