Hard-Won Victory Must Be Secured
The Sun (Baltimore, MD), p. 5.C, Sunday, August 7, 2005
1 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2010
Date Written: August 7, 2005
Great moments for the right to vote include passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 prohibiting voting denial because of gender and the 26th Amendment in 1971 guaranteeing the vote for 18-, 19- and 20- year-olds. Although Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954 is the most celebrated case in civil rights, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 deserves its rightful place alongside Brown and these other momentous occasions.
Thousands were killed when they tried to vote. Maceo Snipes, the only black to vote in the Democratic primary in Taylor County, Ga., in 1946, was shot and lynched soon thereafter. Harry Moore, who organized a voter registration drive in Florida in 1950, was killed by a bomb placed under his home on Christmas Eve in 1951. In Philadelphia, Miss., election workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were murdered a year before the Voting Rights Act passed.
Despite this progress, the Voting Rights Act is not the panacea. Since 1965, its protections have been strengthened on three separate occasions. Even with these revisions, voting irregularities in the 2000 and 2004 presidential races in Florida and Ohio, where there were allegations of discrimination due to faulty machines, police intimidation and purging of voter rolls, suggests that additional protections against racial discrimination may be necessary. With such problems looming, it is hard to believe that conservative Republicans, including President Bush, question the need to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2007.
Keywords: Voting Rights Act, civil rights, violence, elections, racial discrimination
JEL Classification: K19, K39, K4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation