WASHINGTON (NNPA) – When lawmakers ratified the 15th Amendment in 1870, protecting voting rights for Blacks, opponents of the law lashed out, violently at times, employing literacy tests, poll taxes, and fraud in an effort to disenfranchise the new voters. It would be nearly 100 years before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed many of those practices, ushering in a “new era in American democracy.” A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank focused on the economic conditions of low- and middle income families, chronicles past struggles and highlight current roadblocks that attempt to dilute the Black vote.
Since September, Patricia Ferguson and I have participated in town hall meetings across the state, sponsored by the NC Legislative Black Caucus and the NC Democratic Caucus. Our topic is and has been the defeat of voter suppression. In the coming weeks we’ll share our observations, fears and suggestions necessary to understand and defeat voter suppression. Strategically voter suppression targets are the coalition partners and participants that elected President Barack Obama, also known as the Obama coalition. In future editorials we will analyze those partners and participants. However, in this, my first voter suppression editorial, we’ll target black voters. It is my considered opinion that modern voter suppression is the greatest threat to blacks and the black community since segregation and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s.
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