“We must have our freedom now. We must have the right to vote. We must have equal protection of the law.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.
Fewer than 20% of Alabama’s eligible black citizens are registered to vote. In Mississippi, just 6%.
The Voting Rights Act—signed today by President Johnson—should raise those numbers. It lets federal workers oversee registration of voters wherever there has been discrimination.
As with 1964’s Civil Rights Act, peaceful protests led by activists like Martin Luther King, Jr., deserve much of the credit.
Hopes are that the new law, backed by the authority of the Constitution, will end a century of voting discrimination.