Framing voter ID laws as ‘Jim Crow’ denies the triumph of the Civil Rights movement


The continued framing of voter ID laws as particularly and intentionally anti-black 67 years after the Civil Rights Act is disingenuous. The Civil Rights movement was an incredible achievement that, since the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 to the present, has created vastly more equality under the law and has increased participation of black people in the US across all spectrums of society. Black Americans are political leaders, intellectual leaders, literary and artistic leaders, as well as corporate leaders, and the prevalence of black people in American public life has grown to the point of being commonplace, as it should be. Writing in The New York Times, Jamelle Bouie gives a history lesson about the way voting laws were specifically used to disenfranchise black voters. One of the ways was by requiring people to register to vote, which Bouie states “had a stark and negative effect on turnout, made worse by the discretion given to registrars.” He quotes J. Morgan Kousser from his The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880-1910.

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