Celebrating 50 Years of the Voting Rights Act

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On the day marking 50 years since President Johnson and the U.S. Congress signed the Voting Rights Act into law, a distinguished collection of leaders and activists convened by the Museum of African American History and the Social Justice Institute at Boston University, will discuss how our pioneers of social justice understood the pleas of a marginalized people and led the charge for equality.

Frederick Douglass underscored the importance of the vote when he declared, “Slavery is not abolished until the black man has the ballot,” in a speech delivered May 1865. Nearly 100 years later, voting rights continued to be a focus of the modern civil rights movement, with a march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital in Montgomery on March 7, 1965. This peaceful protest was met by an attack by state troopers at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. Following years of organized campaigns for equal rights and attacks against protestors, culminated by the violence on what is now known as “Bloody Sunday,” moved President Johnson and the U.S. Congress to act. Five months later on August 6, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law. Challenges to this 1965 milestone, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other landmark decisions continue to be met by all manner of resistance.

(Image: Lyndon Johnson signs Voting Rights Act of 1965//en.wikipedia.org)
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