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The Voting Rights Act of 1965

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    "You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea."

    - Medgar Evers



    One of the core aspects of a democratic society is the right to vote. Many African-Americans found this right was denied to them by some of the state and local governments that oversaw election procedures. Many barriers prevented African-Americans and other minorities from registering to vote or actually voting. Until laws and Constitutional amendments were passed, some states required people to pay fees or pass "literacy tests" in order to vote. These tests were much more than a test of reading skills, however. View the Alabama State Literacy Test on the National Park System website. As you read it, pay careful attention to the type of information it asks. Is all of the information required necessary for voting? Would you be comfortable providing all of this information in order to register to vote? How could the information required on this form be used against someone?

    Voting Rights Act of 1965 that are in blue. When complete, answer the review questions below. After reading, write or type your answers to the following questions.


    It was literacy tests like the one from Alabama that led to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. You will now need to read through this act, paying close attention to the parts in white, and answer the questions below.


    1.  Which three amendments that were passed almost 100 years earlier, guaranteed that African-Americans had the right to vote?

    2.  Why was the Voting Rights Act of 1965 necessary?

    3.  Name three ways that local jurisdictions tried to inhibit African-Americans from voting prior to the Voting Rights Act?

    4.  Who is appointed to supervise and oversee the election process in a local jurisdiction which violated the Voting Rights Act?

    Submit your answers on the next page and then take the quiz on the page after that.