The Voting Rights Act of 1965 Essays

1217 WordsSep 4, 20085 Pages
Most change can be caused by people or something with significant value. Occasionally people forget that change can also be caused by pieces of paper. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a law passed that primarily gave African Americans the right to vote without having to take any sort of literacy tests. African Americans were widely ignored in voting rights because they were forced to take literacy tests to be eligible to vote. Having this event in our nation’s civil rights movement was a landmark that allowed the other half of our nation’s voice to be heard. “The Voting Rights Act itself has been called the single most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever passed by Congress.”(Laney 65) Before this act was passed there…show more content…
The extension of the franchise to black citizens was strongly resisted. Among others, the Ku Klux Klan, the Knights of the White Camellia, and other terrorist organizations attempted to prevent the 15th Amendment from being enforced by violence and intimidation. Once whites regained control of the state by a process known as "Redemption," they used gerrymandering of election districts to further reduce black voting strength and minimize the number of black elected officials. In the 1890s, these states began to amend their constitutions and to ratify a series of laws intended to re-establish and establish white political supremacy. “Such disfranchising laws included poll taxes, literacy tests, vouchers of "good character," and disqualification for "crimes of moral turpitude." These laws were "color-blind" on their face, but were designed to exclude black citizens disproportionately by allowing white election officials to apply the procedures Karim 3 selectively.” (Laney 11) Other laws and practices, such as the white primary, attempted to evade the 15th Amendment by allowing private political parties to conduct elections and establish qualifications for their members. As a result of these efforts, in the former Confederate states nearly all black citizens were disenfranchised and removed by 1910. The process of restoring the rights stolen by these tactics would take many decades. There were several tactics used to steal voting rights away from

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