It seems there is a big battle going on with Democrats and Republicans. To me ‘We the People’ has been lost in all of this. I well know what media can do to change people’s minds and put fear into their hearts. The Internet has become a balancing factor. It gives voice to the ones of us who have something to say whether it’s for or against something. That is how things were meant to be in the first place. My reason for voting is the fact that my ancestors and the people before me went to the limit to get us the freedom to vote. It has been a long hard road and I am not going to just sit here and not use the opportunity that has been created for me. Lots of people are unhappy about the way things are today and all they do is complain. You have to get up and do something about it. You have to ‘Be The Change You Want To See In the World’, and that is a quote that I live by.
Did you all know that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 came right after the Civil Rights Act of 1964? That was not long ago. We tend to forget all of the efforts that had to be put in for us to even sit at the front of the bus. Did you also know that some Republicans fought against the renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 2006? Can you believe that? Such Racists and bigots those few Republican members of Congress are and in this day and age, it is so childish to stand in the way of equality for all people. But that is what fear will do to you. So lets all go out and vote tomorrow, whether you are Democrat or Republican, we all need to work together to make the country better. I have put together some info about the Voting rights act of 1866 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to refresh everyone’s memory of how hard it has been for African-Americans in this country and how far we have come today, and still a long way to go. Lets not forget about the sexism, homophobia and bigotry that exists here also. We have to get rid of it. We are all GOD’s children and hate and fear has to be replaced with love, compassion, understanding and acceptance.
THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1866
The Civil Rights Act (1866) was passed by Congress on 9th April 1866 over the veto of President Andrew Johnson. The act declared that all persons born in the United States were now citizens, without regard to race, color, or previous condition. As citizens they could make and enforce contracts, sue and be sued, give evidence in court, and inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property. Persons who denied these rights to former slaves were guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction faced a fine not exceeding $1,000, or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both. The activities of organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan undermined the workings of this act and it failed to guarantee the civil rights of African Americans.
the voting rights act of 1965
The 1965 Enactment
By 1965 concerted efforts to break the grip of state disfranchisement had been under way for some time, but had achieved only modest success overall and in some areas had proved almost entirely ineffectual. The murder of voting-rights activists in Philadelphia, Mississippi, gained national attention, along with numerous other acts of violence and terrorism. Finally, the unprovoked attack on March 7, 1965, by state troopers on peaceful marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, en route to the state capitol in Montgomery, persuaded the President and Congress to overcome Southern legislators’ resistance to effective voting rights legislation. President Johnson issued a call for a strong voting rights law and hearings began soon thereafter on the bill that would become the Voting Rights Act.
Congress determined that the existing federal anti-discrimination laws were not sufficient to overcome the resistance by state officials to enforcement of the 15th Amendment. The legislative hearings showed that the Department of Justice’s efforts to eliminate discriminatory election practices by litigation on a case-by-case basis had been unsuccessful in opening up the registration process; as soon as one discriminatory practice or procedure was proven to be unconstitutional and enjoined, a new one would be substituted in its place and litigation would have to commence anew.
President Johnson signed the resulting legislation into law on August 6, 1965. Section 2 of the Act, which closely followed the language of the 15th amendment, applied a nationwide prohibition against the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on the literacy tests on a nationwide basis. Among its other provisions, the Act contained special enforcement provisions targeted at those areas of the country where Congress believed the potential for discrimination to be the greatest. Under Section 5, jurisdictions covered by these special provisions could not implement any change affecting voting until the Attorney General or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia determined that the change did not have a discriminatory purpose and would not have a discriminatory effect. In addition, the Attorney General could designate a county covered by these special provisions for the appointment of a federal examiner to review the qualifications of persons who wanted to register to vote. Further, in those counties where a federal examiner was serving, the Attorney General could request that federal observers monitor activities within the county’s polling place.The Voting Rights Act had not included a provision prohibiting poll taxes, but had directed the Attorney General to challenge its use. In Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), the Supreme Court held Virginia’s poll tax to be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. Between 1965 and 1969 the Supreme Court also issued several key decisions upholding the constitutionality of Section 5 and affirming the broad range of voting practices that required Section 5 review. As the Supreme Court put it in its 1966 decision upholding the constitutionality of the Act:
Congress had found that case-by-case litigation was inadequate to combat wide-spread and persistent discrimination in voting, because of the inordinate amount of time and energy required to overcome the obstructionist tactics invariably encountered in these lawsuits. After enduring nearly a century of systematic resistance to the Fifteenth Amendment, Congress might well decide to shift the advantage of time and inertia from the perpetrators of the evil to its victims.
South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 327-28 (1966).
WE MUST JOIN TOGETHER TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE!