The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is “generally considered the most successful piece of civil rights legislation ever adopted by the United States Congress.”* Congress adopted this act in response to the ongoing obstruction African Americans faced in exercising their right to vote. As a result, African Americans were overwhelmingly disenfranchised in many Southern states. The act’s adoption followed nearly a century of systematic resistance by certain states to the Fifteenth Amendment guarantee of the right to vote regardless of race or color.

While the Voting Rights Act was adopted in response to the African American struggle, other racial groups also fought for enfranchisement. Hispanics, Asian Americans, and American Indians faced the same methods states used to exempt African American voters from the ballot box. Therefore, this study also describes voter discrimination issues faced by Hispanics, Asian Americans, and American Indians.



“In fairness to the Republicans, voter suppression has a long history in the United States that is not located in one party, but it’s located in one ideology, and that ideology is white supremacy,” Mitchell continued. “So for much of the post-Reconstruction period, until say 1970 or 1980 or so, that was either primarily the Democratic party – think of the old Dixiecratic south – or in both parties.”



We can’t return to this:

By August 1898, Alex Manly, a thin, handsome man, only 32 years old, had made himself into a remarkable American success story. He was a respected community leader in Wilmington, North Carolina, owned and edited The Daily Record, the city’s most widely read newspaper, served as the deputy registrar of deeds, and taught Sunday school at the Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church. Although he was the grandson of Charles Manly, a former governor of North Carolina, Manly’s achievements were in no way a result of family connections.

That was because his grandmother, Corinne, had been one of Charles Manly’s slaves.

Although he was light-skinned, with features that could easily be taken for white, Alex Manly never forgot his African American identity. In fact, The Daily Record was billed as “The Only Negro Daily Paper in the World.” What made Manly’s achievements more unusual was that by 1898, virtually all of the gains made by African Americans during Reconstruction had been swept away, and white supremacists had once again taken control of state governments across the South.