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This guide is designed as a starting point for learning about anti-racism and systemic racism. You will find electronic books and streaming video from the Libraries’ collection. The guide also links to community-based organizations and non-profit journa
An answer to the assault on voting rights--crucial reading in advance of the 2020 presidential election The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is considered one of the most effective pieces of legislation the United States has ever passed. It enfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters, particularly in the American South, and drew attention to the problem of voter suppression. Yet in recent years there has been a continuous assault on access to the ballot box in the form of stricter voter ID requirements, meritless claims of rigged elections, and baseless accusations of voter fraud. In the past these efforts were aimed at eliminating African American voters from the rolls, and today, new laws seek to eliminate voters of color, the poor, and the elderly, groups that historically vote for the Democratic Party. Uncounted examines the phenomenon of disenfranchisement through the lens of history, race, law, and the democratic process. Gilda R. Daniels, who served as Deputy Chief in the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and more than two decades of voting rights experience, argues that voter suppression works in cycles, constantly adapting and finding new ways to hinder access for an exponentially growing minority population. She warns that a premeditated strategy of restrictive laws and deceptive practices has taken root and is eroding the very basis of American democracy--the right to vote!
Utilizing a field study on felons that were within one year of completing incarceration, Pinkard analyzes the legal history, constitutionality, conflicting laws, political, and life chance consequences of felon disenfranchisement laws on African American felons and the African American community. Research and data presented in this book indicate that: felon disenfranchisement is based on moralistic beliefs, modern racism, and stereotypes about human differences and that permanent political marginalization of a particular segment of American society not only negates democracy in principle by diluting voter participation and equal representation but also assures the debasement of specific segments of society and the life chances of African Americans in particular.
Available in print only (not online).
From the New York Times bestselling author of White Rage, the startling history of voter suppression in America, from the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to the present-day rise of legislated voter discrimination, and the forces that are fighting back. In her New York Times bestselling White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically aimed at impeding black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history- the rollbacks to African American participation in the democratic vote since the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which hindered politicians in racist counties and states from diminishing the electoral strength of African Americans and Latinos at the polls. While the VRA has required vigilant safeguarding against the efforts of the GOP, its blanket protections remained in effect until 2013, when the Shelby County Supreme Court decision effectively stripped it, allowing states, counties, and municipalities with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice. Focusing on the aftermath of the Shelby ruling, Anderson follows an astonishing series of undemocratic electoral actions fueled by Republican-sponsored hysteria about massive voter fraud. With her combination of gripping storytelling and enlightening description she explains how each method of voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance- the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans. The story of government-dictated racial discrimination is unfolding before our very eyes, as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. As the nation gears up for the 2018 mid-term elections, One Person, No Vote, and its incredible history of affronts to the democratic process, carries the fierce urgency of now.
When the Fifteenth Amendment of 1870 granted African Americans the right to vote, it seemed as if a new era of political equality was at hand. Before long, however, white segregationists across the South counterattacked, driving their black countrymen from the polls through a combination of sheer terror and insidious devices such as complex literacy tests and expensive poll taxes. Most African Americans would remain voiceless for nearly a century more, citizens in name only until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act secured their access to the ballot. In Bending Toward Justice, celebrated historian Gary May describes how black voters overcame centuries of bigotry to secure and preserve one of their most important rights as American citizens. The struggle that culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act was long and torturous, and only succeeded because of the courageous work of local freedom fighters and national civil rights leaders--as well as, ironically, the opposition of Southern segregationists and law enforcement officials, who won public sympathy for the voting rights movement by brutally attacking peaceful demonstrators. But while the Voting Rights Act represented an unqualified victory over such forces of hate, May explains that its achievements remain in jeopardy. Many argue that the 2008 election of President Barack Obama rendered the act obsolete, yet recent years have seen renewed efforts to curb voting rights and deny minorities the act's hard-won protections. Legal challenges to key sections of the act may soon lead the Supreme Court to declare those protections unconstitutional. A vivid, fast-paced history of this landmark piece of civil rights legislation, Bending Toward Justice offers a dramatic, timely account of the struggle that finally won African Americans the ballot--although, as May shows, the fight for voting rights is by no means over.
This Bright Light of Ours offers a tightly focused insider's view of the community-based activism that was the heart of the civil rights movement. A celebration of grassroots heroes, this book details through first-person accounts the contributions of ordinary people who formed the nonviolent army that won the fight for voting rights. Combining memoir and oral history, Maria Gitin fills a vital gap in civil rights history by focusing on the neglected Freedom Summer of 1965 when hundreds of college students joined forces with local black leaders to register thousands of new black voters in the rural South. Gitin was an idealistic nineteen-year-old college freshman from a small farming community north of San Francisco who felt called to action when she saw televised images of brutal attacks on peaceful demonstrators during Bloody Sunday, in Selma, Alabama. Atypical among white civil rights volunteers, Gitin came from a rural low-income family. She raised funds to attend an intensive orientation in Atlanta featuring now-legendary civil rights leaders. Her detailed letters include the first narrative account of this orientation and the only in-depth field report from a teenage Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) project participant. Gitin details the dangerous life of civil rights activists in Wilcox County, Alabama, where she was assigned. She tells of threats and arrests, but also of forming deep friendships and of falling in love. More than four decades later, Gitin returned to Wilcox County to revisit the people and places that she could never forget and to discover their views of the "outside agitators" who had come to their community. Through conversational interviews with more than fifty Wilcox County residents and former civil rights workers, she has created a channel for the voices of these unheralded heroes who formed the backbone of the civil rights movement.
Both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) claim to advocate minority political interests, yet they disagree over the intent and scope of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), as well as the interpretation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Whereas the Court promotes color-blind policies, the CBC advocates race-based remedies. Setting this debate in the context of the history of black political thought, Rivers examines a series of high-profile districting cases, from Rodgers v. Lodge (1982) through NAMUDNO v. Holder (2009). She evaluates the competing approaches to racial equality and concludes, surprisingly, that an originalist, race-conscious interpretation of the 14th Amendment, along with a revised states' rights position regarding electoral districting, may better serve minority political interests.
5.4 million Americans--1 in every 40 voting age adults-- are denied the right to participate in democratic elections because of a past or current felony conviction. In several American states, 1 in 4 black men cannot vote due to a felony conviction. In a country that prides itself onuniversal suffrage, how did the United States come to deny a voice to such a large percentage of its citizenry? What are the consequences of large-scale disenfranchisement--both for election outcomes, and for public policy more generally? Locked Out exposes one of the most important, yet littleknown, threats to the health of American democracy today. It reveals the centrality of racial factors in the origins of these laws, and their impact on politics today. Marshalling the first real empirical evidence on the issue to make a case for reform, the authors' path-breaking analysis willinform all future policy and political debates on the laws governing the political rights of criminals.
The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified on July 9, 1868, identified all legitimate voters as "male." In so doing, it added gender-specific language to the U.S. Constitution for the first time. Suffrage Reconstructed considers how and why the amendment's authors made this decision. Vividly detailing congressional floor bickering and activist campaigning, Laura E. Free takes readers into the pre- and postwar fights over precisely who should have the right to vote. Free demonstrates that all men, black and white, were the ultimate victors of these fights, as gender became the single most important marker of voting rights during Reconstruction. Free argues that the Fourteenth Amendment's language was shaped by three key groups: African American activists who used ideas about manhood to claim black men's right to the ballot, postwar congressmen who sought to justify enfranchising southern black men, and women's rights advocates who began to petition Congress for the ballot for the first time as the Amendment was being drafted. To prevent women's inadvertent enfranchisement, and to incorporate formerly disfranchised black men into the voting polity, the Fourteenth Amendment's congressional authors turned to gender to define the new American voter. Faced with this exclusion some woman suffragists, most notably Elizabeth Cady Stanton, turned to rhetorical racism in order to mount a campaign against sex as a determinant of one's capacity to vote. Stanton's actions caused a rift with Frederick Douglass and a schism in the fledgling woman suffrage movement. By integrating gender analysis and political history, Suffrage Reconstructed offers a new interpretation of the Civil War-era remaking of American democracy, placing African American activists and women's rights advocates at the heart of nineteenth-century American conversations about public policy, civil rights, and the franchise.
The Politics of Voter Suppression arrives in time to assess actual practices at the polls this fall and to reengage with debates about voter suppression tactics such as requiring specific forms of identification. Tova Andrea Wang examines the history of how U.S. election reforms have been manipulated for partisan advantage and establishes a new framework for analyzing current laws and policies. The tactics that have been employed to suppress voting in recent elections are not novel, she finds, but rather build upon the strategies used by a variety of actors going back nearly a century and a half. This continuity, along with the shift to a Republican domination of voter suppression efforts for the past fifty years, should inform what we think about reform policy today. Wang argues that activities that suppress voting are almost always illegitimate, while reforms that increase participation are nearly always legitimate. In short, use and abuse of election laws and policies to suppress votes has obvious detrimental impacts on democracy itself. Such activities are also harmful because of their direct impacts on actual election outcomes. Wang regards as beneficial any legal effort to increase the number of Americans involved in the electoral system. This includes efforts that are focused on improving voter turnout among certain populations typically regarded as supporting one party, as long as the methods and means for boosting participation are open to all. Wang identifies and describes a number of specific legitimate and positive reforms that will increase voter turnout.
Reconstruction in America, documents nearly 2,000 more confirmed racial terror lynchings of Black people by white mobs in America than previously detailed. The report examines the 12 years following the Civil War when lawlessness and violence perpetrated by white leaders created an American future of racial hierarchy, white supremacy, and Jim Crow laws—an era from which our nation has yet to recover.
We promote fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights. Fair Fight brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in other voter education programs and communications.
Voter suppression of voters of color and young voters is a scourge our country faces in states across the nation. Georgia’s 2018 elections shone a bright light on the issue with elections that were rife with mismanagement, irregularities, unbelievably long lines and more, exposing both recent and also decades-long actions and inactions by the state to thwart the right to vote. Georgians and Americans are fighting back. Fair Fight Action engages in voter mobilization and education activities and advocates for progressive issues; in addition Fair Fight Action has mounted significant programs to combat voter suppression in Georgia and nationally.
Fair Fight PAC has initiated programs to support voter protection programs at state parties around the country and is engaging in partnerships to support and elect pro voting rights, progressive leaders.
On April 21, 2016, nine members of Congress, two hundred activists and Congressional staff gathered for a historic Congressional briefing on the most pressing issues of 2016; voter suppression and manipulation of US elections.
From that briefing, the new Congressional Voting Rights Caucus was formed, and the Voting Rights Alliance soon followed.
The Voting Rights Alliance is a growing network of organizations, activists, and legislators working to restore and protect voting rights from concerted attacks that undermine our access to the polls, and to have our votes fairly counted.
Our democracy is rooted in the idea that everyone’s voice matters. But right now, nearly 50,000 Californians on parole are unable to vote in local, state, or federal elections.
Voter suppression tactics consistently exclude Black and Brown people from our democracy. Felony disenfranchisement is a form of voter suppression that is rooted in racially discriminatory Jim Crow laws, which have suppressed the Black vote for the last century and a half. After the Civil War, California refused to ratify the 15th Amendment, which prohibits voting restrictions based on race, and instead included felony disenfranchisement in the state constitution.
We can move California forward and past this shameful chapter in our state’s history by passing Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6. ACA 6 will ask California voters to restore the right to vote to people on parole in the 2020 ballot. ACA 6 is accompanied by AB 646, which enacts corresponding changes to California’s Elections Code. Our democracy is stronger when it is fair and inclusive. It’s time to free the vote for formerly incarcerated people in California. It’s time to pass ACA 6.