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The Voting Rights Act: 3 Books That All Historians Should Read

By    |   Wednesday, 16 Mar 2016 03:07 AM

The events that led to the formation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 can be traced back to the years immediately following the Civil War.

The act effectively removed all barriers that had prevented African-Americans and other minorities from having their voices heard at the polls, and for that, History.com called the Voting Rights Act of 1965 “one of the most expansive pieces of civil rights legislation in American history.”

There have been a number of books written on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Here are five such books that all historians should read:

1. "The Most Fundamental Right: Contrasting Perspectives on the Voting Rights Act,"
by Daniel McCool

Indiana University Press, which published "The Most Fundamental Right" claimed McCool’s book was “an effort to understand the debate over the Act and its role in contemporary American democracy.

In its 2012 review of "The Most Fundamental Right," New Books Network said: "This timely collection provides deep theoretical and empirical justifications for the VRA, and equally well-developed arguments in opposition."

TELL US: How Do You Feel About Voting Rights for Convicted Felons?

2. "Colorblind Injustice: Minority Voting Rights and the Undoing of the Second Reconstruction," by J. Morgan Kousser

“Challenging trends in Supreme Court decisions on civil rights, the author of this book criticizes the Court's postmodern equal protection and seeks to demonstrate that legislative and judicial history still matter for public policy,” said the book's publisher, The University of North Carolina Press.

"Colorblind Injustice" won the Southern Regional Council's Lillian Smith Book Award in 1999 and the American Political Science Association's Ralph J. Bunche Award in 2000.

Emeritus professor of history at The Ohio State University Michael Les Benedict said of "Colorblind Injustice": "Kousser makes an important contribution to our understanding of the politics of Reconstruction."

"His effective deployment of statistics and maps sustains his contentions that quantitative methods can be powerful tools in the historian's arsenal and that one can make historical arguments about causation that are compelling to an open-minded reader," said Benedict.

3. "Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy,"
by Gary May

Duke University Press described Gary May's "Bending Toward Justice" as "a vivid and fast-paced history" that "offers a dramatic account of the birth and precarious life of the 1965 Voting Rights Act."

Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said of "Bending Toward Justice" in The New York Review of Books: "May’s book contains a wealth of information about the events that led to the enactment of the 1965 statute—and about the dedication and heroism of little-known participants in the events that came to national attention in 1964 and 1965."

VOTE NOW: Do You Think Convicted Felons Should Be Allowed to Vote?

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The events that led to the formation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 can be traced back to the years immediately following the Civil War. There have been a number of books written on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Here are three such books that all historians should read.
voting rights, history, books
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2016-07-16
Wednesday, 16 Mar 2016 03:07 AM
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