“No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” ~ Section 2, Voting Rights Act of 1965
grandfather clauses exempting voters whose grandfathers had been able to vote. When the U. S. Supreme Court would find such attempts unconstitutional, other tactics would be used such as the white primary.
Grassroots organization to bring about voting rights for African American began growing after the 1964 election, and culminated in the planned march from Selma to Birmingham on March 7, 1964, which also protested the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson the previous month. Marchers were stopped at the Edmund Pettis Bridge on the edge of town where many were beaten and Rev. James Reeb was killed. A Federal Court ruled that the march be allowed, and on March 21 it took place led by Martin Luther King, Jr., reaching Montgomery on March 25 with 25,000 participants. While shuttling people back to Selma after the march, Viola Liuzzo was shot by Klansmen.
The Act was renewed in 2006 for a period of 25 years. Challenges today come in the form of Voter ID laws and ex-felon enfranchisement which are left up to the individual states.
|Rev. James Reeb|