The Voting Rights Act,
MEDICARE AND MEDICAID!
Votes for our Women,
40 Hour Work Week
Minimum Wage and
The Social Security Act.
History of the VRA
In March 1965, on a bridge outside Selma, Alabama, a second phase of the revolution was born. Civil and human rights activists, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, took to the streets in a peaceful protest for voting rights for African Americans. They were met with clubs and violence. Many were beaten and severely injured, including a young activist named John Lewis, who now serves as Congressman for Georgia’s 5th District.
But the activists did not march in vain. Television brought this conflict of angry violence against peaceful, moral protest into living rooms across America.
Five days later, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced to a joint session of Congress that he would bring them an effective voting rights bill. Echoing the spiritual anthem of the civil and human rights movement, he said simply, “We Shall Overcome.”
He – and we – did overcome. On August 6, 1965, Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act (VRA), hailed by many as the most effective civil rights law ever enacted.
Before the VRA
Prior to the Civil War, African Americans were almost totally disenfranchised throughout the states. Latino voters faced similar barriers to voting in Texas and other parts of the Southwest, as did Native American and Asian American voters in the West. Even after enactment of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, in 1870, which gave all men, regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude the right to vote READ MORE