Voting Rights Act of 1965

Recent Articles

“Ask What You Can Do For Your Country”








By Marian Wright Edelman

Contributing Writer


“It should be clear by now that a nation can be no stronger abroad than she is at home. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live.” — From the speech President John F. Kennedy planned to deliver on November 22, 1963.  

I was a brand new law school graduate in my first months of work with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York City on that fateful November day 50 years ago. I had begun the day visiting a young Black male death row client in a rural Georgia prison accused of killing a White farmer and had returned to Atlanta where I was sitting in a courthouse library researching how many Blacks and Whites had been executed in Georgia’s history. Continue Reading →

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The Good Wife Works – On Whitney Young: our Minnesota national treasure



We must deal with ourselves, but you must deal with us, too.”  — Eugene Robinson, Washington Post Pulitzer Prize winner


Seeing The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s fight for civil rights, a documentary film by Bonnie Boswell, prompted me to go back to read a second book on Young, Whitney Young: Militant Mediator, by his official biographer Dennis Dickerson. Whitney Moore Young was born 7/31/21 in Kentucky and drowned in Nigeria 3/11/71. Ramsey Clark saw Young’s arm go up twice in the water that day as if in trouble and pulled him out. The two autopsies that were performed disagreed on the cause of Young’s death. As head of the National Urban League, “His organization effectively lobbied the House and Senate to pass the Civil Rights Act(s) of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

Young worked with President(s) John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Continue Reading →

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Hearye, Hearye, Justice Scalia — voting is a right




By Marc Morial

Guest Commentator


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. — Voting Rights Act of 1965

Last month during Supreme Court oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, Justice Antonin Scalia called a key part of the Voting Rights Act — Section Five — a “racial entitlement.” Section Five requires that the Justice Department or a federal court “pre-clear” any changes made to voting procedures by covered jurisdictions to ensure they do not “deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color.”

This act was established to fix a broken system, and it remains relevant today. As long as blatant voter-suppression measures like Voter ID laws and district gerrymandering are being used to keep certain groups from the polls, the Voting Rights Act — in its entirety — remains necessary. And to clear up any confusion that Justice Scalia or anyone who found merit in his argument has, let’s be clear: Voting “rights” are indeed that — a right guaranteed to every citizen of the United States. They are not a special privilege. Continue Reading →

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