Voting Rights Act of 1965



The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) is one of the main American civil rights reforms of the 1960s. It outlawed the literacy tests, poll taxes and other devices that the Jim Crow South used to greatly limit the black vote. It is what Medgar Evers, Freedom Summer, Selma and those fire hoses were mainly about – the right to vote.

President Johnson called the VRA:

a triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on any battlefield

The VRA has not only allowed way more blacks to vote, but also more Native Americans and Latinos: it outlaws practices that in effect limit voting by race or language.

In 2006Congress, after holding long hearings to see if the VRA was still necessary, voted to extend it by 25 years. Over 90% voted for the extension. A Republican President Bush signed it into law.

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