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CIVIL RIGHTS > NATIONAL VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 19, 2019 02:53AM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This thread discusses the National Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The National Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. § 1973–1973aa-6)[1] was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.[2]

Echoing the language of the 15th Amendment, the Act prohibits states from imposing any "voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure ... to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color."[3]

Specifically, Congress intended the Act to outlaw the practice of requiring otherwise qualified voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote, a principal means by which Southern states had prevented African-Americans from exercising the franchise.[2] The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, who had earlier signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.[2][4]

The Act established extensive federal oversight of elections administration, providing that states with a history of discriminatory voting practices (so-called "covered jurisdictions") could not implement any change affecting voting without first obtaining the approval of the Department of Justice, a process known as preclearance.[5] These enforcement provisions applied to states and political subdivisions (mostly in the South) that had used a "device" to limit voting and in which less than 50 percent of the population was registered to vote in 1964.[5] The Act has been renewed and amended by Congress four times, the most recent being a 25-year extension signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006.[6]

The Act is widely considered a landmark in civil-rights legislation,[7] though some of its provisions have sparked political controversy. During the debate over the 2006 extension, some Republican members of Congress objected to renewing the preclearance requirement (the Act's primary enforcement provision), arguing that it represents an overreach of federal power and places unwarranted bureaucratic demands on Southern states that have long since abandoned the discriminatory practices the Act was meant to eradicate.[8] Conservative legislators also opposed requiring states with large Spanish-speaking populations to provide bilingual ballots.[9] Congress nonetheless voted to extend the Act for twenty-five years with its original enforcement provisions left intact.


Source: Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_R...




message 2: by Alisa (last edited Dec 22, 2010 01:26PM) (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Census Date Realigns Congressional Districts in Key Poltical States
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

As a result of the US census taken every 10 years, the process of reapportionment is undertaken to insure that Congressional representation and voting districts are aligned appropriate to whatever shifts in demographics have occured. This year there will be some realignment with a few states losing seats and others picking up some, predominantly in the west and southwest. Note that "certain states with a history of racial discrimination are required by the federal Voting Rights Act to draw boundaries in a way that does not put minority populations at a disadvantage." Thanks, in large part, to this key piece of legislation.


message 3: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Alisa wrote: "Census Date Realigns Congressional Districts in Key Poltical States
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

As a result of ..."


We certainly get strange looking districts, too. Very interesting, Alisa.


message 4: by Alisa (last edited May 07, 2011 09:58AM) (new)

Alisa (mstaz) There do not appear to be a lot of books on this important topic, but this looks like a good offering.
Governance by Decree The Impact of the Voting Rights Act in Dallas (Studies in Government and Public Policy) by Ruth P. Morgan by Ruth P. Morgan
Product Description
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which originally was intended to prohibit barriers to black registration and voting, has been hailed as a triumph for civil rights and as a catalyst for the election of minorities to public office in both the Deep South and the urban North. To advance its objective, federal courts instructed many cities to change from at-large to single-member district electoral systems as a way to ensure that minorities had a reasonable chance to elect representatives of their choice.
In the first book to critique the implementation of this landmark legislation in a major American city, Ruth Morgan examines its effect on local governance over forty years in Dallas and shows that it had unintended consequences for racial politics, representation, and public policy. Breaking from studies that measure the success of the VRA in terms of increased minority representation, Morgan assesses the consequences of the Act for Dallas city government--and for the wider interests of minorities as well.

While endorsing the original intent of the VRA, Morgan believes that this intent was subverted by subsequent amendments to the Act and by the courts' attempts to advance the political standing of particular minority groups. She argues that court-imposed single-member districts have created in Dallas a city council infected with parochialism and careerism--a result of members no longer having to compromise to win citywide votes--and have had an adverse impact on governmental effectiveness and voter turnout. With corruption and cronyism now rampant, voting rights legislation and litigation have ultimately failed to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the unempowered, and the district system has created an incentive for continued racial separation.

Governance by Decree offers a pointed assessment of the complexities and contradictions produced by the voting rights law, while at the same time calling for the federal judiciary to exercise restraint in imposing its will when it lacks the capacity to make choices that are inherently political. Morgan's powerfully argued case study should inspire much debate and inform forthcoming congressional deliberations over the renewal of the preclearance section of the VRA in 2007. This book is part of the Studies in Government and Public Policy series.

note: for some reason the book cover will not show. until i figure out the glitch, here is the link.
Governance by Decree: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act in Dallas


message 5: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) This looks good to help understand how this legislation came about ~
Voting Rights Act of 1965 as a by Garrine P. Laney by Garrine P. Laney
By passing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Congress challenged the widespread evidence of disfranchisement of black citizens in certain southern states. This Act protects citizens' right to vote by forbidding covered states from using any tests that would determine eligibility to vote, by requiring these states to obtain federal approval before enacting any election laws and by assigning federal officials to monitor the registration process in certain localities. In 1970, Congress extended the Voting Rights Act for an additional 5 years and its coverage to other jurisdictions when evidence presented at congressional hearings revealed continued racial discrimination in voting. Throughout the next three decades, further legislation was added to the Act, to more wholly protect the individual citizen of this country. This book delves into the history of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the current challenges and issues that face Congress.


message 6: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Something to keep an eye on for the Supreme Court's current term.

Supreme Court to hear key voting rights case
By NBC's Pete Williams

Agreeing to hear another important case on race in America, the Supreme Court said Friday it will take up a battle over a key part of the landmark Voting Rights Act. Civil rights groups fear the court will use this case to gut the law.

Passed by Congress in 1965 and renewed four times since then, most recently in 2006, a key provision requires states with a history of discrimination at the polls to get federal permission before making any changes to election procedures -- from redrawing congressional district boundaries to changing the locations of polling places.

The law was at the core of the legal cases this year blocking strict new voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina.

Advertise | AdChoicesShelby County, Ala., claims the pre-clearance requirement -- which currently covers nine entire states, 12 cities and 57 counties elsewhere -- is unconstitutional. Under the law, those states and areas are presumed to be acting improperly whenever they seek election changes and "must either go hat in hand to Justice Department officialdom to seek approval, or embark on expensive litigation in a remote judicial venue," says the lawyer for the county.

The areas covered by the law, Shelby County says, include some localities that have made substantial reforms while missing other parts of the country that have failed to root out discrimination at the polls. "Florida has been forced into pre-clearance litigation to prove that reducing early voting from 14 days to 8 is not discriminatory, when states such as Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania have no early voting at all," the county says.

But the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund says the current map is a close enough fit to cover the areas of greatest concern. "Congress is not a surgeon with a scalpel when it acts to legislate across the 50 states. But it can reasonably attack discrimination where it finds it," the group says.

Three years ago, the Supreme Court narrowly rejected a challenge to the pre-clearance requirement but strongly suggested that several justices had doubts about its constitutionality, given recent electoral reforms. "Things have changed in the South," the court said in 2009. "Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare."

Last month, the Supreme Court heard another racially charged case, re-examining whether the nation's colleges can use affirmative action in admissions.

source: http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/20...


message 7: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) This looks interesting and adds some context to the Voting Rights Act:

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Its Legacy
Freedom Is a Constant Struggle The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Its Legacy by Kenneth T. Andrews by Kenneth T. Andrews
Synopsis
No part of the United States was more resistant to the civil rights movement and its pursuit of racial equality than Mississippi. Freedom Is a Constant Struggle explores the civil rights movement in that state to consider its emergence before the 1965 Voting Rights Act and its impact long after. Did the civil rights movement have a lasting impact, and, if so, how did it bring about change? Kenneth T. Andrews is the first scholar to examine not only the history of the movement but its social and political legacy as well. His study demonstrates how during the 1970s and '80s, local movements worked to shape electoral politics, increase access to better public schools, and secure the administration of social welfare to needy African Americans.

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle is also the first book of its kind to detail the activities of white supremacists in Mississippi, revealing how white repression and intimidation sparked black activism and simultaneously undermined the movement's ability to achieve far-reaching goals. Andrews shows that the federal government's role was important but reactive as federal actors responded to the sustained struggles between local movements and their opponents. He tracks the mobilization of black activists by the NAACP, the creation of Freedom Summer, efforts to galvanize black voters, the momentous desegregation of public schools and the rise of all-white private academies, and struggles over the economic development of black communities. From this complex history, Andrews shows how the civil rights movement built innovative organizations and campaigns that empowered local leadership and had a lasting legacy in Mississippi and beyond.

Based on an original and creative research design that combines extensive archival research, interviews with activists, and quantitative historical data, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle provides many new insights into the civil rights struggle, and it presents a much broader theory to explain whether and how movements have enduring impacts on politics and society. What results is a work that will be invaluable to students of social movements, democratic politics, and the struggle for racial freedom in the U.S.


message 8: by B. P. (new)

B. P. Rinehart (ken_moten) | 39 comments I'm surprised this thread isn't more active given the reason events and the fact that a key piece of this law might be gut.


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I agree, why not post some information on what is going on to get a discussion going.


message 10: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Yes yes, I will get some info up soon on the current court case and related discussion in the news on this. The Supreme Court argument is fresh in people's minds right now although it will be months before they rule. It is definitely relevant here.


message 11: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy
Bending Toward Justice The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy by Gary May by Gary May

Synopsis
When the Fifteenth Amendment of 1870 granted African Americans the right to vote, it seemed as if a new era of political equality was at hand. Before long, however, white segregationists across the South counterattacked, driving their black countrymen from the polls through a combination of sheer terror and insidious devices such as complex literacy tests and expensive poll taxes. Most African Americans would remain voiceless for nearly a century more, citizens in name only until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act secured their access to the ballot.

In Bending Toward Justice, celebrated historian Gary May describes how black voters overcame centuries of bigotry to secure and preserve one of their most important rights as American citizens. The struggle that culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act was long and torturous, and only succeeded because of the courageous work of local freedom fighters and national civil rights leaders—as well as, ironically, the opposition of Southern segregationists and law enforcement officials, who won public sympathy for the voting rights movement by brutally attacking peaceful demonstrators. But while the Voting Rights Act represented an unqualified victory over such forces of hate, May explains that its achievements remain in jeopardy. Many argue that the 2008 election of President Barack Obama rendered the act obsolete, yet recent years have seen renewed efforts to curb voting rights and deny minorities the act’s hard-won protections. Legal challenges to key sections of the act may soon lead the Supreme Court to declare those protections unconstitutional.

A vivid, fast-paced history of this landmark piece of civil rights legislation, Bending Toward Justice offers a dramatic, timely account of the struggle that finally won African Americans the ballot—although, as May shows, the fight for voting rights is by no means over.


message 12: by Alisa (last edited Aug 03, 2013 08:34AM) (new)

Alisa (mstaz) North Carolina Voter ID Law Could Lead To Increased Voter Intimidation, Harassment, Election Officials Fear
Saki Knafo Aug 02, 2013

In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, reports of harassment and intimidation at the polls were so rampant in North Carolina that the state's top election official was obliged to send a memo to his employees reminding them that they could call police if necessary. Now, as North Carolina's governor prepares to sign one of the most restrictive election bills in the nation, civil-rights advocates and election officials in the state expect to see a rise in what they call voter intimidation. The law, which North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to sign any day, would allow political parties to send 10 roving "observers" from precinct to precinct on voting days, and it would authorize citizens to challenge the legality of votes cast in the county where the challenger lives. (Under the current law, you can only challenge a vote cast by someone living in your precinct.) Supporters contend that the law will help observers catch people in the act of fraud, but critics point out that evidence of this type of fraud is scarce. They insist that the real goal is to intimidate Democratic-leaning black voters, some of whom may remember the threats and assaults that swept the South in the late 1960s, after the 1965 Voting Rights Act toppled the official barriers blacks had faced at the polls. "In my mind, the only reason the change is occurring is to have a harmful impact on eligible voters who are trying to exercise their constitutional right," said Bob Phillips, the director of Common Cause North Carolina, a progressive group.

"We have hundreds of precincts located in all the communities across our state, and now you're going to be introducing outside observers who are not residents of those precincts and who are really are up to, in my opinion, intimidation." In addition to boosting the presence of poll observers, the law would require every voter to display specific forms of government-issued identification, which minorities and low-income people disproportionately lack. It would also cut back on the hours allotted for early voting, prohibit people from registering on the same day that they vote, and cancel a popular program to register high-school students -- practices that have boosted electoral participation among young and black voters and may have helped President Barack Obama carry the state in 2008.

The state’s Republican-dominated Legislature passed the law in July, despite scant evidence of voter impersonation fraud in North Carolina (or in any other state). In a statement, Phil Berger, the leader of the State Senate, said the bill "restores clarity, transparency and confidence in the voting process. It curtails the questions of voter fraud by folks on both sides of the aisle and helps ensure every candidate wins or loses on his or her own merits."

In recent years, more than 30 states around the country have passed laws requiring voters to show ID. North Carolina would become one of at least three states to allow behavior by poll watchers or poll observers that could threaten voting rights, according to a report by the progressive groups Demos and Common Cause.

Even among the voter laws in other states, North Carolina’s stands apart. Mainstream election experts have panned the proposal, calling it the most sweeping anti-voter law in the country.

For Jay Delancy, though, it doesn't go far enough. Delancy, a retired Air Force office and the head of a group called the Voter Integrity Project of North Carolina, is one of the state’s best-known activists in the campaign against fraud and a proponent of even stricter election rules, like ending early voting altogether. Last year, he repeatedly challenged the validity of the state's voter rolls, at one point claiming that nearly 30,000 registered North Carolina's voters were actually names of deceased people. A state investigation eventually undermined this claim, and Delancy now admits that concerns about counting dead people as voters are "greatly exaggerated." But he remains adamant that voter fraud is pervasive, and although he has little evidence to back this up, he hopes the new rules will make it easier for groups like his to catch people cheating at the polls.

He plans to train people to act as observers, a strategy modeled on True the Vote, a national tea party-affiliated organization that has stirred up controversy by sending observers into African-American districts in recent years. "We need to safeguard the ballot box, just like banks," Delancy says. According to one state election official, however, the expected influx of observers could have the opposite effect. "You're going to have more observers than you have actual workers," said Gary Sims, deputy director of the Wake County Board of Elections. "Some of our polling places are very small. I don't know how we're going to fit 15, 16 people in there. We're not going to have enough poll workers to make sure observers are following the law."

During last year’s early voting period, there were reports of official poll observers and campaign workers interrogating and harassing voters, hovering over them as they voted and getting into shouting matches with each other. The state board of elections sent out a memo reminding employees that they were obliged to “prevent and stop improper practices and attempts to obstruct, intimidate, or interfere with any person in registering or voting.”

Now that job could get harder, election officials say. Some worry that the increased presence of observers could overwhelm poll workers, contributing to long lines and effectively discouraging people from voting. "How do you police people?" asked Sims. "We're not in the police business." If the bill is signed, Delancy and his allies in North Carolina will owe its success in part to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in June on the Voting Rights Act, which cleared the way for North Carolina and other Southern states to pass restrictive voter laws that the federal government could have previously prohibited. In the landmark case, a 5-4 majority ruled that areas with histories of extensive discrimination, including 40 counties in North Carolina, no longer needed to submit their electoral policies to the federal government for approval. In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts argued that the South has changed so dramatically since the Voting Rights Act was passed almost half a century ago that the need for special federal oversight has been eliminated. Civil-rights advocates tend to agree that things have improved since the ‘60s. Yet they see the furor over voter fraud as a thinly veiled attempt to roll back those changes.

"What we've seen recently are efforts by Republicans in largely non-white communities to go in and systematically challenge ballots," said Kareem Crayton, a law professor at the University of North Carolina. "Maybe people in these communities aren't familiar with the process of voting, or aren't entirely clear what their rights are, and in the face of people telling them ‘if you vote illegally or inconsistently with the rules you can be challenged in court under a felony conviction’, that can be intimidating." In a recent interview, Delancy dismissed the suggestion that his crusade against fraud and the voter-suppression tactics of the Jim Crow era are in any way alike.

No one in today’s North Carolina needs to worry about “dogs and fire hoses and all that,” he said. “It's laughable.”

Then he corrected himself: “It's really not laughable. It's tragic. I think in the end, as I tell every black activists who will dare to have a civil conversation with me, we are not who you say we are. What I care about is open and honest elections.”
(Source: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/369565...)


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This is all because of that supreme court ruling.


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
House Democrats push voting rights amendment

By Athena Jones, CNN
Updated 3:47 PM ET, Thu January 22, 2015

Washington (CNN)The Rev. Jesse Jackson joined House Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison and Mark Pocan at a press conference on Thursday to announce plans to introduce a constitutional amendment that would explicitly guarantee the right to vote to every American and give Congress the power to protect that right.

Jackson said the United States was one of only 11 nations that does not explicitly enshrine a citizen's right to vote in its constitution and argued that gun owners effectively had more rights than voters.

"We have the ironic situation, after the Heller [Supreme Court] decision, that Americans have a fundamental individual right to a gun, but not a fundamental individual right to vote," Jackson said.

RELATED: 50 years later, MLK's work is not done
http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/19/opinion...

The move is one of several efforts by House Democrats to address concerns about voting rights being curtailed in many states after the 2013 Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, outlawed a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that required certain states with a history of racial discrimination at the polls "preclear" any changes to voting laws with the federal government before implementing them. It's now up to Congress to revise the law so that it meets constitutional muster.

Remainder of article:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/22/politic...

Source: CNN


message 15: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4375 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: May 5, 2015

Jimmie Lee and James: Two Lives, Two Deaths, and the Movement that Changed America

Jimmie Lee and James Two Lives, Two Deaths, and the Movement that Changed America by Steve Fiffer by Steve Fiffer (no photo)

Synopsis:

In the early months of 1965, the killings of two civil rights activists inspired the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, which became the driving force behind the passage of the Voting Rights Act. This is their story.

“Bloody Sunday”—March 7, 1965—was a pivotal moment in the civil rights struggle. The national outrage generated by scenes of Alabama state troopers attacking peaceful demonstrators fueled the drive toward the passage of the Voting Rights Acts later that year. But why were hundreds of activists marching from Selma to Montgomery that afternoon?

Days earlier, during the crackdown on another protest in nearby Marion, a state trooper, claiming self-defense, shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old unarmed deacon and civil rights protester. Jackson’s subsequent death spurred local civil rights leaders to make the march to Montgomery; when that day also ended in violence, the call went out to activists across the nation to join in the next attempt. One of the many who came down was a minister from Boston named James Reeb. Shortly after his arrival, he was attacked in the street by racist vigilantes, eventually dying of his injuries. Lyndon Johnson evoked Reeb’s memory when he brought his voting rights legislation to Congress, and the national outcry over the brutal killings ensured its passage.

Most histories of the civil rights movement note these two deaths briefly, before moving on to the more famous moments. Jimmie Lee and James is the first book to give readers a deeper understanding of the events that galvanized an already-strong civil rights movement to one of its greatest successes, along with the herculean efforts to bring the killers of these two men to justice—a quest that would last more than four decades.


message 16: by Francie (new)

Francie Grice Governance by Decree: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act in Dallas

Governance by Decree The Impact of the Voting Rights Act in Dallas by Ruth P. Morgan by Ruth P. Morgan (no photo)

Synopsis:

The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which originally was intended to prohibit barriers to black registration and voting, has been hailed as a triumph for civil rights and as a catalyst for the election of minorities to public office in both the Deep South and the urban North. To advance its objective, federal courts instructed many cities to change from at-large to single-member district electoral systems as a way to ensure that minorities had a reasonable chance to elect representatives of their choice.

In the first book to critique the implementation of this landmark legislation in a major American city, Ruth Morgan examines its effect on local governance over forty years in Dallas and shows that it had unintended consequences for racial politics, representation, and public policy. Breaking from studies that measure the success of the VRA in terms of increased minority representation, Morgan assesses the consequences of the Act for Dallas city government--and for the wider interests of minorities as well.

While endorsing the original intent of the VRA, Morgan believes that this intent was subverted by subsequent amendments to the Act and by the courts' attempts to advance the political standing of particular minority groups. She argues that court-imposed single-member districts have created in Dallas a city council infected with parochialism and careerism--a result of members no longer having to compromise to win citywide votes--and have had an adverse impact on governmental effectiveness and voter turnout. With corruption and cronyism now rampant, voting rights legislation and litigation have ultimately failed to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the unempowered, and the district system has created an incentive for continued racial separation.

"Governance by Decree" offers a pointed assessment of the complexities and contradictions produced by the voting rights law, while at the same time calling for the federal judiciary to exercise restraint in imposing its will when it lacks the capacity to make choices that are inherently political. Morgan's powerfully argued case study should inspire much debate and inform forthcoming congressional deliberations over the renewal of the preclearance section of the VRA in 2007.


message 17: by Francie (new)

Francie Grice In Search of Federal Enforcement: The Moral Authority of the Fifteenth Amendment and the Integrity of the Black Ballot, 1870-1965

(no image) In Search of Federal Enforcement: The Moral Authority of the Fifteenth Amendment and the Integrity of the Black Ballot, 1870 1965 by Vanessa A Holloway (no photo)

Synopsis:

In Search of Federal Enforcement is a call to investigate the history of federal oversight to secure and preserve black Americans voting rights over a ninety-five-year interregnum. This book satiates the reader's harboring curiosity as to why the national government was culpably negligent in protecting the exercise of the franchise for black Americans until the 1965 Voting Rights Act. As Holloway explains, much of this problem stemmed from Southern Democrats operating in tandem with the power of private actors to circumvent the Fifteenth Amendment. This mutual-advantage partnership codified disfranchisement, safeguarded the interests of recalcitrant Southern states and localities, and defended local systems of privilege.

In the pages of this timely study, Holloway lays bare the abject failure of the national government and critically evaluates how the Southern status quo stimulated chaos at the national level. Despite market paradigms, In Search of Federal Enforcement confronts this historical conundrum and offers keen observations about voting manipulations and electoral abuse by both incumbents and private actors."


message 18: by Francie (new)

Francie Grice Protest at Selma: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Protest at Selma Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by David J. Garrow by David J. Garrow (no photo)

Synopsis:

A thorough and insightful account of the historic 1965 civil rights protest at Selma, Alabama, from the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning biography Bearing the Cross

Vivid descriptions of violence and courageous acts fill David Garrow’s account of the momentous 1965 protest at Selma, Alabama, in which the author illuminates the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in organizing the demonstrations that led to the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Beyond a mere narration of events, Garrow provides an in-depth look at the political strategy of King and of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He explains how King’s awareness of media coverage of the protests—especially reports of white violence against peaceful African American protestors—would elicit sympathy for the cause and lead to dramatic legislative change. Garrow’s analysis of these tactics and of the news reports surrounding these events provides a deeper understanding of how civil rights activists utilized a nonviolent approach to achieve success in the face of great opposition and ultimately effected monumental political change.


message 19: by Francie (new)

Francie Grice The Voting Rights Act of 1965, As Amended: It's History and Current Issues

(no image) The Voting Rights Act of 1965: An Interactive History Adventure by Michael Burgan (no photo)

Synopsis:

You re a U.S. citizen, so why are you being denied your right to vote? Even after civil rights legislation passes, many minorities are still being turned away from polls. It s not fair, and you will fight for your right to have a say in your government. Will you: Brave violence while registering voters during the 1964 Freedom Summer in Mississippi?Witness brutality as you protest in the 1965 Selma March?Join the Chicano Movement to secure voting rights for Hispanic immigrants? YOU CHOOSE offers multiple perspectives on history, supporting Common Core reading standards and providing readers a front-row seat to the past."


message 20: by Teri (new)

Teri (teriboop) The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act

The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act by Charles S. Bullock by Charles S. Bullock (no photo)

Synopsis:

On June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Shelby County v. Holder, invalidating a key provision of voting rights law. The decision—the culmination of an eight-year battle over the power of Congress to regulate state conduct of elections—marked the closing of a chapter in American politics. That chapter had opened a century earlier in the case of Guinn v. United States, which ushered in national efforts to knock down racial barriers to the ballot. A detailed and timely history, The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act analyzes changing legislation and the future of voting rights in the United States.

In tracing the development of the Voting Rights Act from its inception, Charles S. Bullock III, Ronald Keith Gaddie, and Justin J. Wert begin by exploring the political and legal aspects of the Jim Crow electoral regime. Detailing both the subsequent struggle to enact the law and its impact, they explain why the Voting Rights Act was necessary. The authors draw on court cases and election data to bring their discussion to the present with an examination of the 2006 revision and renewal of the act, and its role in shaping the southern political environment in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, when Barack Obama was chosen. Bullock, Gaddie, and Wert go on to closely evaluate the 2013 Shelby County decision, describing how the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court created an appellate environment that made the act ripe for a challenge.

Rigorous in its scholarship and thoroughly readable, this book goes beyond history and analysis to provide compelling and much-needed insight into the ways voting rights legislation has shaped the United States. The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act illuminates the historical roots—and the human consequences—of a critical chapter in U.S. legal history.


message 21: by Teri (new)

Teri (teriboop) Free at Last to Vote: The Alabama Origins of the 1965 Voting Rights Act

Free at Last to Vote The Alabama Origins of the 1965 Voting Rights Act by Brian K. Landsberg by Brian K. Landsberg (no photo)

Synopsis:

Although the heroism of last century's freedom marches will long be credited for ending racial discrimination, civil rights legislation owes much to work done more quietly in the district courtrooms of the South. This book expands our understanding of how the Voting Rights Act came about by focusing on several key cases in Alabama that paved the way for this landmark legislation.

Brian Landsberg--himself a participant in many of these trials--argues that Department of Justice litigation contributed significantly to the content of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. His close analysis of these trials shows how they helped pave the way for the dramatic expansion of federal power in combating racist enforcement of voting laws. Focusing on three out of the seventy voting rights cases filed between 1957 and 1965, he reveals how the DOJ, newly armed with authority to bring civil suits against voting discrimination, aggressively pursued its efforts to enforce the Reconstruction Amendments.

These cases in Elmore, Sumter, and Perry counties helped to expose the chasm between the objectives of the Fifteenth Amendment and the practices of southern voter registrars--and the equally deep chasm between practices in the Deep South and those in the rest of the country--by showing that a simple requirement of racial neutrality wasn't enough to guard against discrimination. The VRA adopted many of the stringent remedies that emerged from these trials, including the appointment of federal officials to observe elections and maintain lists of eligible voters and the need for federal approval for changes in local voting procedures.

Landsberg highlights a long-neglected but vitally important chapter in the history of the civil rights movement and puts a human face on the struggle for the right to vote, enhancing our understanding of the efforts blacks made to register, the doubts of even moderate whites, and the role of federal agents in protecting voter rights. His study is especially welcome in light of the controversy surrounding the VRA's recent renewal in 2006, which caught glimpses of the pre-VRA South, and current concerns over new and emerging forms of disenfranchisement.


message 22: by Lorna, Assisting Moderator (T) - SCOTUS - Civil Rights (new)

Lorna | 2159 comments Mod
Suppression of the Black Vote Is No Relic

By JELANI COBB November 8, 2016


On Election Day, a worker hands out stickers at a polling station in North Carolina, where, last Friday, a federal judge threw out an attempt to have nearly four thousand voters, many of them African-Americans, struck from the rolls. Photograph by Chris Keane / Reuters

At several points during this campaign, Barack Obama has urged voters to support Hillary Clinton not because of her long experience, or because of his estimation that Donald Trump is “uniquely unqualified” for the Presidency, but in order to preserve his own legacy. He said this most explicitly at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual dinner, in September, where he implored African-Americans to back the Democratic candidate.

“After we have achieved historic turnout in 2008 and 2012, especially in the African-American community, I will consider it a personal insult—an insult to my legacy—if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election,” Obama said. “You want to give me a good send-off? Go vote.”

Obama’s two Presidential campaigns were defined in part by the black voters they brought to the polls. In both 2008 and 2012, African-American women voted at a higher rate than any other demographic group in the country. In recent months, Obama has been asking those voters to preserve the work of his Administration: Trump has promised to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Iran deal. But, aside from his desire to protect those policies, by appealing to black voters to go to the polls he was also asking them to counter a new effort to suppress the black vote, which grew in strength during his Presidency.

On November 5, 2008, the morning after Obama’s election, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial noting that “a man of mixed race has now reached the pinnacle of U.S. power only two generations since the end of Jim Crow.” To the Journal, this was “a tribute to American opportunity,” and proof that egalitarianism had triumphed in the United States. “One promise of his victory is that perhaps we can put to rest the myth of racism as a barrier to achievement in this splendid country,” the editors wrote. “Mr. Obama has a special obligation to help do so.”

Throughout the campaign in 2008, Obama alternately laughed off and rejected the idea that his campaign could or would allow the country to transcend its history of racism. In a speech on race, given in response to reports about the inflammatory sermons of his longtime pastor, Jeremiah Wright, he remarked that, “contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial division in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy—particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.”

Yet the idea that Obama’s candidacy represented “racial reconciliation on the cheap,” as he put it in that speech, persisted into his Presidency. A version of the Journal’s argument appeared in Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court decision that, in 2013, gutted the Voting Rights Act.

In the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts held that the act’s “special provisions” for monitoring the electoral laws of states with histories of racial discrimination against black voters were a relic of the nineteen-sixties. During arguments, Justice Roberts asked Donald Verrilli, Jr., the Solicitor General, whether the Obama Administration believed that “the citizens of the South are more racist than the citizens of the North.”

Read the remainder of the article at: http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-de...

Discussion Topics:

a) Do you think there has been an increase in voter suppression?

b) Do you agree with Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion in Shelby County v. Holder in 2013 that the act’s “special provisions” for monitoring the electoral laws of states with histories of racial discrimination against black voters were a relic of the nineteen-sixties?

Source: New Yorker


message 23: by Lorna, Assisting Moderator (T) - SCOTUS - Civil Rights (new)

Lorna | 2159 comments Mod
Voting Rights Act, 1965 - The History Channel

The Voting Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson (1908-73) on August 6, 1965, aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote under the 15th Amendment (1870) to the Constitution of the United States. The act significantly widened the franchise and is considered among the most far-reaching pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history.


President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law August 6, 1965 (news.vanderbilt.edu)

Selma Spurs Johnson to Call for Voting Rights Act

Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency in November 1963 upon the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the presidential race of 1964, Johnson was officially elected in a landslide victory and used this mandate to push for legislation he believed would improve the American way of life, such as stronger voting-rights laws.

After the U.S. Civil War (1861-65), the 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, prohibited states from denying a male citizen the right to vote based on “race, color or previous condition of servitude.” Nevertheless, in the ensuing decades, various discriminatory practices were used to prevent African Americans, particularly those in the South, from exercising their right to vote.

During the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, voting rights activists in the South were subjected to various forms of mistreatment and violence. One event that outraged many Americans occurred on March 7, 1965, when peaceful participants in a voting rights march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital in Montgomery were met by Alabama state troopers who attacked them with nightsticks, tear gas and whips after they refused to turn back. Some protesters were severely beaten, and others ran for their lives. The incident was captured on national television.

In the wake of the brutal incident, Johnson called for comprehensive voting rights legislation. In a speech to a joint session of Congress on March 15, 1965, the president outlined the devious ways in which election officials denied African-American citizens the vote. Blacks attempting to vote often were told by election officials that they had gotten the date, time or polling place wrong, that they possessed insufficient literacy skills or that they had filled out an application incorrectly. Blacks, whose population suffered a high rate of illiteracy due to centuries of oppression and poverty, often would be forced to take literacy tests, which they inevitably failed. Johnson also told Congress that voting officials, primarily in Southern states, had been known to force black voters to “recite the entire Constitution or explain the most complex provisions of state laws,” a task most white voters would have been hard-pressed to accomplish. In some cases, even blacks with college degrees were turned away from the polls.

Voting Rights Act: Signed into Law on August 6, 1965

The voting rights bill was passed in the U.S. Senate by a 77-19 vote on May 26, 1965. After debating the bill for more than a month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 333-85 on July 9. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law on August 6, with Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders present at the ceremony.

The act banned the use of literacy tests, provided for federal oversight of voter registration in areas where less than 50 percent of the nonwhite population had not registered to vote, and authorized the U.S. attorney general to investigate the use of poll taxes in state and local elections (in 1964, the 24th Amendment made poll taxes illegal in federal elections; poll taxes in state elections were banned in 1966 by the U.S. Supreme Court).

Voting Rights Act: Voter Turnout Rises in the South

Although the Voting Rights Act passed, state and local enforcement of the law was weak and it often was ignored outright, mainly in the South and in areas where the proportion of blacks in the population was high and their vote threatened the political status quo. Still, the Voting Rights Act gave African-American voters the legal means to challenge voting restrictions and vastly improved voter turnout. In Mississippi alone, voter turnout among blacks increased from 6 percent in 1964 to 59 percent in 1969.

Since its passage, the Voting Rights Act has been amended to include such features as the protection of voting rights for non-English speaking American citizens.

Link to article: http://www.history.com/topics/black-h...
Link to videos: http://www.history.com/topics/black-h...

Other:

Protest at Selma Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by David J. Garrow by David J. Garrow (no photo)

The Rise and Fall of the Voting Rights Act by Charles S. Bullock by Charles S. Bullock (no photo)

Source: The History Channel


message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you for the wonderful add Lorna


message 25: by Lorna, Assisting Moderator (T) - SCOTUS - Civil Rights (new)

Lorna | 2159 comments Mod
Congress and the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Despite the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, African Americans in the South faced tremendous obstacles to voting. As a result, very few African Americans were registered voters, and they had very little, if any, political power, either locally or nationally. Reconstruction Era attempts to enforce the 15th Amendment were struck down by the Supreme Court in 1883, an action that ended the federal government’s efforts to protect civil rights for decades.

By the 1950s the civil rights movement galvanized the nation. Congress passed Civil Rights Acts in 1957, 1960, and 1964, but none of these laws were strong enough to prevent voting discrimination by local officials. On March 7, 1965, peaceful voting rights protesters in Selma, Alabama were violently attacked by Alabama state police. News cameras filmed the violence in what became known as “Bloody Sunday.” Many Americans and members of Congress began to wonder if existing civil rights laws would ever be properly enforced by the local authorities. The question before Congress was whether the federal government should guarantee the right to vote by assuming the power to register voters. Since qualifications for voting were traditionally set by state and local officials, federal voting rights protection represented a significant change in the constitutional balance of power between the states and the federal government.

Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which aimed to increase the number of people registered to vote in areas where there was a record of previous discrimination. The legislation outlawed literacy tests and provided for the appointment of Federal examiners (with the power to register qualified citizens to vote) in certain jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination. In addition, these jurisdictions could not change voting practices or procedures without "preclearance" from either the U.S. Attorney General or the District Court for Washington, DC. This act shifted the power to register voters from state and local officials to the federal government.

Because the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the most significant statutory change in the relationship between the Federal and state governments in the area of voting since the Reconstruction era, it was immediately challenged in the courts. Between 1965 and 1969, the Supreme Court issued several key decisions upholding the constitutionality of the law [SeeSouth Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 327-28 (1966) and Allen v. State Board of Elections, 393 U.S. 544 (1969)].

View the documents below for more information on the creation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Photograph of the Ruins of the Mt. Pleasant Society Hall in Gluckstadt, Mississippi, August 11, 1964


President Lyndon Johnson’s Speech to Congress on Voting Rights, March 15, 1965


Link to article:
https://www.archives.gov/legislative/...

Other:

Bending Towards Justice The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy by Gary May by Gary May Gary May

Source: National Archives


message 26: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) | 5 comments I've been reading Parting the Waters: Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement 1954-63 by Taylor Branch - it is a large book, but very accessible. A comprehensive history of what happened at this time.


message 27: by Lorna, Assisting Moderator (T) - SCOTUS - Civil Rights (last edited Feb 26, 2018 01:56PM) (new)

Lorna | 2159 comments Mod
Thank you Kirsten. I have read that book as well and I agree that it gives one remarkable insight into the history of this era. However, to be consistent with our guidelines, your book citation should be as follows:

Parting the Waters Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement 1954-63 by Taylor Branch by Taylor Branch Taylor Branch


message 28: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 06, 2018 12:29PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Great add Lorna and thank you for your add Kirsten.

Thank you Lorna for assisting Kirsten with our citation requirements. Kirsten if you look to the right on the whitespace - when you add the citations correctly - they show up there as well as populate the group site and goodreads. Easier to refer to. Also the Bookcover stands out more and it is always nice to see what the author looks like too Your post stands out more as well.


message 29: by Lorna, Assisting Moderator (T) - SCOTUS - Civil Rights (new)

Lorna | 2159 comments Mod
Voting Rights Act of 1965, as Amended

Voting Rights Act of 1965, as Amended by Garrine P. Laney by Garrine P. Laney (no photo)

Synopsis:

By passing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Congress challenged the widespread evidence of disfranchisement of black citizens in certain southern states. This book delves into the history of the Voting Rights Act and its amendments, as well as the current challenges and issues that face Congress.


message 30: by Lorna, Assisting Moderator (T) - SCOTUS - Civil Rights (new)

Lorna | 2159 comments Mod
VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965



Voting Rights Act of 1965

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, a momentous achievement in the struggle for equal rights.

When President Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment, freeing the nation’s slaves on January 31, 1865, it was not the end of oppression of African Americans, but rather the beginning of a journey toward full citizenship and participation in the democratic process. The 15th Amendment, passed in 1870, stated that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” However, many Southern states began to deny African Americans their constitutional rights by creating poll taxes and convoluting the methods of voter registration to discriminate against African Americans.

African Americans were not only discriminated against with regards to voting rights, but in almost all other aspects of their lives due to the Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) Supreme Court judgment, which allowed for the separate but equal treatment of the races. In 1954, the case was overturned by the Supreme Court judgement in Brown v. The Board of Education, propelling the Civil Rights movement forward, and encouraging leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to continue the fight for equal rights, including voting rights.

Through nationwide peaceful demonstrations, the Civil Rights movement captured the attention of the media, the public, and politicians alike. It became clear that the vast majority Americans were unwilling to tolerate the discriminatory practices of certain states.

Many years of activism culminated in the signing of the Voting Rights Act. The Act prohibited any jurisdiction from implementing a “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … in a manner which results in a denial or abridgement of the right … to vote on account of race,” color or creed. The results were instantaneous: 250,000 new voters were registered by the end of 1965 and more than half of all African American citizens were registered by 1967.

In 2013, the Supreme Court overturned a key provision in the Act, which explicitly forbade states from changing their election laws without federal approval. Immediately, representatives such as Congressman John Lewis began drafting legislation to reinstate it. The proposed reinstatement of the original provision from the 1965 law has received bipartisan backing.

Link to article: https://www.archivesfoundation.org/do...

Other:
Voting Rights Act of 1965, as Amended by Garrine P. Laney by Garrine P. Laney (no photo)

Source: National Archives Foundation


message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
all green


message 32: by Lorna, Assisting Moderator (T) - SCOTUS - Civil Rights (new)

Lorna | 2159 comments Mod


Voting Rights Act of 1965

UPDATED: June 6, 2019 - ORIGINAL: November 9, 2009

The Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote as guaranteed under the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Voting Rights Act is considered one of the most far-reaching pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history.

Selma to Montgomery March

Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the presidency in November 1963 upon the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the presidential race of 1964, Johnson was officially elected in a landslide victory and used this mandate to push for legislation he believed would improve the American way of life, such as stronger voting-rights laws.

After the Civil War, the 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, prohibited states from denying a male citizen the right to vote based on “race, color or previous condition of servitude.” Nevertheless, in the ensuing decades, various discriminatory practices were used to prevent African Americans, particularly those in the South, from exercising their right to vote.

During the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, voting rights activists in the South were subjected to various forms of mistreatment and violence. One event that outraged many Americans occurred on March 7, 1965, when peaceful participants in a Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights were met by Alabama state troopers who attacked them with nightsticks, tear gas and whips after they refused to turn back.

Some protesters were severely beaten and bloodied, and others ran for their lives. The incident was captured on national television.

In the wake of the shocking incident, Johnson called for comprehensive voting rights legislation. In a speech to a joint session of Congress on March 15, 1965, the president outlined the devious ways in which election officials denied African-American citizens the vote.

Literacy Tests

Blacks attempting to vote often were told by election officials that they had gotten the date, time or polling place wrong, that they possessed insufficient literacy skills or that they had filled out an application incorrectly. Blacks, whose population suffered a high rate of illiteracy due to centuries of oppression and poverty, often would be forced to take literacy tests, which they sometimes failed.

Johnson also told Congress that voting officials, primarily in Southern states, had been known to force black voters to “recite the entire Constitution or explain the most complex provisions of state laws,” a task most white voters would have been hard-pressed to accomplish. In some cases, even blacks with college degrees were turned away from the polls.

Voting Rights Act Signed into Law

The voting rights bill was passed in the U.S. Senate by a 77-19 vote on May 26, 1965. After debating the bill for more than a month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 333-85 on July 9.

Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law on August 6, 1965, with Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders present at the ceremony.

The act banned the use of literacy tests, provided for federal oversight of voter registration in areas where less than 50 percent of the non-white population had not registered to vote, and authorized the U.S. attorney general to investigate the use of poll taxes in state and local elections.

In 1964, the 24th Amendment made poll taxes illegal in federal elections; poll taxes in state elections were banned in 1966 by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Voter Turnout Rises in the South

Although the Voting Rights Act passed, state and local enforcement of the law was weak, and it often was ignored outright, mainly in the South and in areas where the proportion of blacks in the population was high and their vote threatened the political status quo.

Still, the Voting Rights Act gave African-American voters the legal means to challenge voting restrictions and vastly improved voter turnout. In Mississippi alone, voter turnout among blacks increased from 6 percent in 1964 to 59 percent in 1969.

Since its passage, the Voting Rights Act has been amended to include such features as the protection of voting rights for non-English speaking American citizens.

Link to article: https://www.history.com/topics/black-...
Link to videotapes: https://www.history.com/topics/black-...

More:

Bending Toward Justice The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy by Gary May by Gary May Gary May

Source: The History Channel


message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 04, 2020 10:16AM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
So much of what Lyndon Johnson did paved the way for the progress that was made in the civil rights movement. Without all that Johnson had done - President Obama might not have been president.

Johnson was a complicated and complex individual - not well understood probably even by himself. And goodness knows there was no love lost between him and the Kennedys. The Kennedys needed Texas and that is why Lyndon was on the ticket and the only reason.

Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon B. Johnson

John F. Kennedy John F. Kennedy

Barack Obama Barack Obama


message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Remembering Brown versus Board of Education:

The Supreme Court decision fueled the civil right movement and the call for voting rights that are now under assault across the country by Jesse Jackson May 18, 2020, 4:59pm CDT



Near the Capitol in Washington, people attend a rally in 2019 to mark the 65th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling that ended public school segregation and fueled the civil rights movement. Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Remainder of article: https://chicago.suntimes.com/columnis...

Source: Chicago Sun Times


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