This article is published in The Guardian:
During the final week of Black History Month, I wanted to continue to look at the people who helped shape the Voting Rights Act, the powerful 1965 law that offered unprecedented protection for voting rights in America. As the country faces another surge of efforts to make it harder to vote, it’s a reminder of how hard Black Americans had to fight to gain and protect the rights to vote that are in place now.
Last week, I wrote about Bloody Sunday, the March 1965 protest that led directly to the Voting Rights Act. The heroes of that march – people like John Lewis, Hosea Williams and Martin Luther King Jr – have become lions of American history. But until recently, one of the most overlooked people in the march was Amelia Boynton (later Amelia Boynton Robinson), who had been organizing in Selma for years before Bloody Sunday and was the one who called in King to bring national attention to the voter suppression in the now historic city.
“She got us the Voting Rights Act,” said Carol Anderson, a historian at Emory University.
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.