This Day In History- The Voting Rights Act of 1965

On August 6th 1965, President Linden B. Johnson put his pen to one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation: the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This Act was to combat the discriminatory practices of the south against African Americans and other minorities- especially the practice of creating laws to prevent them from voting.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 strengthened the 14th and 15th Amendments: that the government shall not infringe on the rights of the people by depriving them of liberty without legislative authorization, and that the government could not prevent anyone from voting based upon their race or color. It also included that in certain areas ballots were required to be bilingual to allow significant populations of minorities to also vote. This Act came after years of blood, sweat, and tears from Civil Rights groups fighting for equal treatment and representation in the country. The Civil Rights Act of 1965 is hailed by many today as the most effective civil rights legislation ever enacted in the United States.

As we move forward in our lives and as a nation, it is crucial that we remember the years of effort that it took to assure all people the right to participate in democracy without unfair limitations on our rights to vote. But it is not sufficient to only remember this effort; we must honor their hard work by using the power that they fought for. We must use our vote to create the change we desire our communities, states, and country. This is especially important that we use our vote in times when democracy is questioned, to ensure that our voices are heard loudly and clearly in our government.

Today, we face several different obstacles that affect our democratic voice as a nation. With the government allowing more money to enter politics and laws that make it more difficult for disadvantaged people to vote in certain areas, it is important that we measure where we stand as a democracy against where we wish to be. We should take lessons from history, from our ancestors and predecessors, to remind our government and ourselves of our most fundamental rights as citizens: we all have the right to be heard. This year midterm elections will occur, and it is key that we send representatives who will listen to our voices. This is something that we can only do by going out on November 4th and casting our votes.

For those of us looking back at history today, the message in unambiguous: we must appreciate the power we have every day- especially every Election Day. 

Written by: Melina, Law Library Intern


By guest

August 06, 2014

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