History of Voting Rights Act

History of Voting Rights Act

Civil Rights Act of 1866

April 9, 1866 - April 10, 1866

April 9, 1866 - The Civil Rights Act of 1866 grants all native-born Americans citizenship, but not the right to vote.

Redemption

1869 - 1874

1869 - Tennessee regains majority white state legislature.
Virginia
North Carolina
Georgia
Texas
Alabama
Arkansas

15th Amendment

Feb 26, 1869 - Feb 27, 1869

February 26, 1869 - Congress passes 15th Amendment, granting African American men the right to vote.

15th Am ratified

Feb 3, 1870 - Feb 4, 1870

February 3, 1870 - 15th Amendment is ratified, granting freed slaves and other African Americans the ability to vote.

5 African American Congressmen

1871 - 1872

1871 - 5 African American congressmen.

Redemption

1875 - 1877

More Southern states regain white majority control of state legislature.

Mississippi
Florida
Louisiana
South Carolina

Peak of African American Congressmen

1875 - 1876

1880s - Peak of African American congressional representatives.

FL Disfranchising Begins

1888 - 1892

Florida legislature adopts disfranchising provisions. Result is a decrease in African American male voter turnout from 62% to 11% over next four years. Examples inclde: poll tax and an "eight box law"

Disfranchising Conventions

1890 - 1902

Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana and Virginia begin holding statewide disfranchising conventions intended to undermine black voters.

LA Disfranchising Begins

1896 - 1900

Louisiana legislature adopts disfranchising laws, specifically the "grandfather clause". Result was decrease in African American male registered voters from 44.8% to 4% over next four years.

Plessy v. Ferguson

1896 - 1897

1896 - Plessy v. Ferguson; Supreme Court rules that racial segregation is constitutional, paves way for the repressive Jim Crow laws.

19th Am ratified

Aug 26, 1920 - Aug 27, 1920

19th Amendment (passed Congress in June, 1919) ratified, giving women right to vote.

Breedlove v. Suttles

Dec 6, 1937 - Dec 7,1937

Dec 6, 1937 - Breedlove v. Suttles; Supreme Court rules to uphold GA poll taxes.

Smith v. Allwright

Dec 6, 1944 - Dec 7, 1944

Dec 6, 1944 - Smith v. Allwright, Supreme Court rules unconsitutional for political parties in Texas to discriminate based on race.

King v. Chapman

April 1, 1946 - April 2, 1946

April 1, 1946 - King v. Chapman; Federal Court rules white primary systems in GA are unconstitutional.

Colegrove v. Green

June 10, 1946 - June 11, 1946

June 10, 1946 - Colegrove v. Green; Supreme Court permits unequal districts in Illinois. Unfairly denying equal representation in Congress. Ruling that the the way legislative districts are drawn is a political question best left to states legislatures, not justiciable.

Brown v. Board of Education

May 17, 1954 - May 18, 1954

May 17, 1954 - Brown v. Board of Education; Supreme Court rules racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.

Civil Rights Act of 1957

Aug 29, 1957 - Aug 30, 1957

Aug 29, 1957 - Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1957 granting Attorney General authority to bring lawsuits on behalf of African Americans being denied the right to vote.

Lassiter v. Northampton

June 8, 1959 - June 9, 1959

June 8, 1959 - Lassiter v. Northampton; Supreme Court rules literacy testing for voting in NC doesn't violate 14th or 15th Am.

Civil Rights Act of 1960

May 6, 1960 - May 7, 1960

May 6, 1960 - Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1960.

Baker v. Carr

March 26, 1962 - March 27, 1962

March 26, 1962 - Baker v. Carr; Supreme Court rules courts can direct legislatures to redraw district boundaries in order to ensure citizens' political rights.

March on Washington

Aug 28, 1963 - Aug 29, 1963

Aug 28, 1963 - "March on Washington"

24th Am

Feb 4, 1964 - Feb 5, 1964

Feb 4, 1964 - 24th Am adopted, outlaws poll taxes.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

July 2, 1964 - July 3, 1964

July 2, 1964 - Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1964. Makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religions, gender in voting.

Bloody Sunday

March 7, 1965 - March 8, 1965

March 7th, 1965 - State troopers attacked peaceful marches crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL. Fifty marchers are hospitalized after police use tear gas, whips, and clubs against them.

Voting Rights Act 1965

Aug 6, 1965 - Aug 7, 1965

Aug 6, 1965 - Voting Rights Act of 1965 enacted.

South Carolina v. Katzenbach

March 7, 1966 - March 8, 1966

March 7, 1966 - South Carolina v. Katzenbach; Supreme Court rules VRA is contsitutional.

Thurgood Marshall

1967 - 1968

1967- President Johnson appoints Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. First black Supreme Court Justice.

9 African American Congressmen

1968 - 1969

1968 - 9 African Americans elected to Congress.

Allen v. State Board of Education

March 3, 1969 - March 4, 1969

March 3, 1969 - Allen v. State Board of Education; Supreme Court rules that Sec 5 of the VRA ought to be interpreted broadly to require preclearance for a wide range of election practices.

26th Am

1971 - 1972

1971 - 26th Amendment passed, granting voting rights to 18-year-olds. The amendment is largely a result of Vietnam War-protests demanding a lowering of the voting age on the premise that people who are old enough to fight are old enough to vote.

Congressional Black Caucus

1971 - 1972

1971 - 12 African Americans in Congress as of 1970, therefore create the Congressional Black Caucus.

White v. Regester

June 30, 1975 - July 1, 1975

June 30, 1975 - White v. Regester; Supreme Court ruled TX redistricting unconstitutional because dilutes minority voting strenghth.

Beer v. USA

March 30, 1976 - March 31, 1976

March 30, 1976 - Beer v. USA; Supreme Court rules Sec 5 of VRA allows preclearance of election changes that are unfair to minority community as long as they are not 'retrogressive'.

City of Mobile v. Bolden

April 22, 1980 - April 23, 1980

April 22, 1980 - City of Mobile v. Bolden; Supreme Court rules voters must prove racially discriminatory intent to prevail with Sec. 2 litigation. Prior to this case, it was sufficient to prove a discriminatory result. "Intent only" standard is a major obstacle.

Congress extends VRA & overturns Mobile v. Bolden

June 29, 1982 - June 30, 1982

June 29, 1982 - Congress reathorizes special provisions of VRA for another 25 years. Also legislatively overturns City of Mobile v. Bolden decision, therefore proving a discriminatory result is sufficient to prevail in Sec. 2 litigation.

(Annotation) This extension also adds protection for the blind, disabled, and illiterate voter. President Reagan declares the right to vote is a "crown jewel" of American liberties.

Thornburg v. Gingles

June 30, 1986 - July 1, 1986

June 30, 1986 - Thornburg v. Gingles; Supreme Court invalidates multi-member state legislative districts in NC. Court created "Gingles Factors" the test to determine if there is a violation of Sec. 2. 1) Whether "the minority group… is sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district;" 2) Whether "the minority group… is pholitically cohesive," i.e. tends to vote as a bloc; and 3) Whether "the majority votes sufficiently as a bloc to enable it - in the absence of special circumstances… usually to defeat the minority's preferred candidate."

Shaw v. Reno

June 28, 1993 - June 29, 1993

June 28, 1993 - Shaw v. Reno; Supreme Court rules that a cause of action can be brought by white residents of majority black districts who contend that in drawing district lines the state preferenced race over traditional redistricting principles. Court rules that legislative districts drawn to comply with Sections 2 and 5 of the VRA cannot consider race any more than is necessary and must not be "bizarrely shaped."

Congressional Black Caucus membership - 40

1994 - 1995

Miller v. Johnson

June 29, 1995 - June 30, 1995

June 29, 1995 - Miller v. Johnson; Supreme Court rules that race cannot be the "predominant factor" when drawing district lines. Decides GA-11 is unconstitutional because race was the "predominant" factor in drawing district lines and the state "subordinated" its traditional redistricting principle without a compelling reason.

Reno v. Bossier Parish School Board

May 12, 1997 - May 13, 1997

May 12, 1997 - Reno v. Bossier Parish School Board; Supreme Court rules federal government can preclear redistricting plans created with a discriminatory purpose, as long as the purpose is not to retrogress.

So long as it doesn't weaken the ability of minority communities to elect candidates of their choice.

Georgia v. Ashcroft

June 26, 2003 - June 27, 2003

June 26, 2003 - Georgia v. Ashcroft; Supreme Court decides Sec. 5 allows preclearance of redistricting plans even if they diminish the minority communities' ability to elect, as long as the community is given an "influence".

Vieth v. Jubelirer

April 28, 2004 - April 29, 2004

April 28, 2004 - Vieth v. Jubelirer; Supreme Court rules that claims of partisan gerrymandering are nonjusticiable.

League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry

June 28, 2006 - June 29, 2006

June 28, 2006 - League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry; Supreme Court ruled TX congressional redistricting plan diluted Lation voting strength and was in violation of Sec. 2 of VRA, therefore invalidated that redistricting plan.

Barack Obama

2008 - 2009

November 4, 2008 - Barack Obama, becomes the first African American to be elected president.

Bartlett v. Strickland

March 22, 2009 - March 23, 2009

March 22, 2009 - Bartlett v. Strickland; Supreme Court ruled that the ability to create a majority-minority district was a prerequisite for a vote dilution claim under Sec. 2 of the VRA.

Annotations

Japanese

1922 - 1923

1922 - Supreme Court rules that people of Japanese heritage are ineligible to become naturalized citizens.

Asian Indians

1923 - 1924

1923 - Supreme Court finds that Asian Indians are also not eligible to naturalize.

Richardson v. Ramirez

June 24, 1974 - June 25, 1974

June 24, 1974 - Richardson v. Ramirez; Supreme Court rules that states may deny convicted felons the right to vote.

GA African American elected officials

1990 - 1991

1990 - in GA the number of black elected officials grows from 3 prior to VRA to 495.

103rd Congress by the #s

Nov 1992 - Dec 1992

Nov 1992 - 28 African American Congressmen, only 3 are elected from majority white districts.

Ohio

Ohio Legislative Black Caucus

1967 - 1968

1967 - The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus was founded.