In recognition of Black History month, our new first floor display “Celebrating Black History Month and Protecting Voting Rights” focuses on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. A landmark piece of U.S. federal legislation passed during the Civil Rights Era, the Act prohibits racial discrimination in voting by outlawing the voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War. The display features a variety of monographs from our collection about the Act, its jurisprudential evolution and its effect on minorities.
Volumes in our collection in this area include both positive and critical commentaries as well as historical overviews. Free at Last to Vote: The Alabama Origins of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, by Brian K. Landsberg, expands on several key cases in Alabama that paved the way for this landmark legislation. In When the Letter Betrays the Spirit: Voting Rights Enforcement and African American Participation from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama, author Tyson D. King-Meadows criticizes the use of executive and judicial discretion that he believes facilitate violations of the Act. The display highlights the book, Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression, written by GW Law Professor Spencer A. Overton. Professor Overton’s scholarship focuses on voting rights and campaign finance. He teaches Race, Racism and American Law as well as the Public Law Seminar on Elections. The display also includes a copy of the signed Act from the National Archives Center for Legislative Archives and a photo of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Act with Martin Luther Ling Jr. in attendance.
Check out “Celebrating Black History Month and Protecting Voting Rights” to discover the wealth of resources available to the GW Law community about the Voting Rights Act of 1965, past, present and future.