This article by Colby Itkowitz is published by The Washington Post. Here is an excerpt:
Alabama’s population is 27 percent Black, and many of those voters are packed into Sewell’s 7th District, which stretches along the western border of Alabama, grabbing parts of the Black Belt in its fist and extending two fingers into heavily Black Montgomery and Birmingham. The remaining Black communities are dispersed among the state’s six overwhelmingly White districts. The result, voting rights advocates argue, is a dilution of Black voting power.
Near the end of President Barack Obama’s second term, former attorney general Eric Holder approached Sewell and Lewis, who died in 2020, about his plans for a national Democratic redistricting organization to blunt Republican gerrymanders. He wanted their buy-in on an effort in Black Belt states to stop legislatures from concentrating Black voters into one district. Agreeing meant backing a legal quest to create additional Black districts even if it meant their own would be less Black; in Sewell’s case it probably would have meant giving up Selma and Montgomery.
“‘It will mean redrawing your districts. The numbers [of Black voters] will go down. But it’s the fair thing to do,’” Holder said he told Sewell and other Black Democrats. “What struck me was Sewell signed up right away. It’s not tactical — this is just about fairness, allowing a people who for too long have been marginalized and giving them a chance to be heard.”
Read the full article here. Also, take a look at our collection of articles concerned with African-Americans and Democracy. Few ongoing crises in American elections have more importance to the integrity of the democracy than the imperative of ensuring voting rights for African-Americans. Also see Democracy Chronicles articles on African-American Voting Rights, the Civil Rights Era, Minority Voting, and our unfortunate category: Racism.