The Voting Rights Act

The Voting Rights Act – By Daniel W. Sheridan (Twitter: @DanielWSheridan)

#OTD, February 26, 1869, the Fifteenth Amendment, granting African American men the right to vote, is passed by Congress.

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

“The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

Even though with this amendment the Constitution provided for equal voting rights for all men, many were still denied those rights 95 years after its passing. President LBJ, to remedy this unjust situation, signed the “Voting Rights Act,” which was deemed “appropriate legislation” to “enforce” the Fifteenth Amendment.

President Johnson wanted to create what he called, “The Great Society.” A society where the promise of the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal,” applies to everyone.

LBJ believed he was fulfilling that promise with the following measures: Voting Rights Act, Medicaid, Federal Aid for Education, Environmental Protection laws, Food Stamps, Head Start, NPR, The Arts and Humanities Act, The Public Broadcasting System, Consumer Protection Laws, and The Civil Rights Act. These measures, created during the LBJ years, are still with us today.

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act prohibiting voting discrimination against minorities.

After signing The Civil Rights Act LBJ said,

“There goes the south for a generation.”

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