On the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act
Fifty years ago today, after a protracted civil-rights struggle that was both conciliatory and militant, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibiting all states from impeding or denying African Americans the right to vote. The legislation also strengthened existing antidiscrimination laws and gave new authority to the U.S. Attorney General to prosecute offending states.
Reflecting on the half-century since the passage of the VRA, Leid Stories observes the many ways in which both the letter and intent of the act have been violated. Moreover, the question central to the VRA and several related legal cases remains unanswered: Are African Americans citizens of the United States?