The Voting Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on Aug. 6, 1965, helped enfranchise millions of African-Americans over the decades. Speaking before a bipartisan gathering of members of Congress, his Cabinet, civil-rights leaders and the press, Johnson said of African-Americans: "They came in darkness and they came in chains. And today we strike away the last major shackle of those fierce and ancient bonds."
The Voting Rights Act was renewed and extended several times during the last half-century. Then, in June 2013, a divided U.S. Supreme Court, voting 5-4, gutted the law. Almost immediately, Southern states began passing restrictive voting laws, disenfranchising hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of voters. Three years later, however, this new generation of Jim Crow-style laws is facing federal court challenges, and they are being thrown out or significantly weakened, one by one. ||| Listen to Amy Goodmanâ€™s podcast, which is recorded in conjunction with her weekly column published here: democracynow.org/blog. Amy Goodman is an award-winning investigative journalist, syndicated columnist, author, and the host of Democracy Now!, an independent, global daily news hour. She is the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the â€œalternative Nobel Prizeâ€ for â€œdeveloping an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media.â€
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