However, Dr. Foster discussed how now the tactic of gerrymandering districts to stop the African American vote in the south as been popular among the political parties. He claimed that Congress was aware of this when they put sections four and five of the Voting Rights Act up on the chopping block.
The panel was created to educate and bring awareness to the current battle over voting rights. Dr. Foster and the panelists emphasized the 148 years of history and struggle for African Americans to obtain voting rights. They explained that for years, African Americans were subjected to unfair laws, literacy tests and threats to be kept from voting.
SELMA, Ala. â Joanne Bland, at age 11, marched toward the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday in 1965 as hundreds of African-Americans protested, demanding the right to vote. Her sister was beaten by state troopers. Bland fainted in the clouds of tear gas.
A lot of people – women, African Americans, and the poor – fought for the right to vote; certainly their descendents would want to exercise their right to vote.
But Southern black lawmakers, activists and citizens say multiple factors have left the African-American vote at its most vulnerable, citing apathy in the post-Barack Obama era, the declining influence of former civil rights activists and the difficulty of voter mobilization.
The struggle against segregation and repression continued throughout the South. Conditions changed only after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 legally empowered the federal government to send its own officials into local courthouses. By the end of 1966, more than half of African-Americans in southern states had registered to vote. In the years that followed, many were elected to local offices such as mayors, school boards, and chiefs of police.
Americans all around the country were shocked by the killing of civil rights workers and the brutality they witnessed on their televisions. Freedom Summer raised the consciousness of millions of people to the plight of African-Americans and the need for change. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed Congress in part because lawmakers' constituents had been educated about these issues during Freedom Summer.
Two months after the United States entered the war, the African-American Pittsburgh Courier newspaper announced a "Double V" campaign for victory against fascism abroad and racism at home. The emerging black working class grew frustrated with its marginal position in a time of prosperity. Black leaders made considerable strides by employing a largely legal approach. The NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund, whose members included Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley, waged battles against all-white voting primaries (Smith v. Allwright) and segregated transportation (Morgan v. Virginia), housing (Shelley v. Kraemer), and education (Brown v. Board of Education). Yet legal protection was gradual and did not address growing economic concerns.
Dr. Felton Best, the Director of African American Studies and philosophy professor at Central, attributed this new stage of voting rights restrictions on the 2008 presidential election. According to Dr. Best, when President Obama was elected, he was elected with the highest level of African American participation in American history. The African American vote turned normally Republican states into Democratic states. This was due to the fact that people were voting who had never voted before.