On August 6, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed The Voting Rights Act into law changing election laws throughout the United States. Before this moment, many African Americans who wished to vote in nine states, most in the South, had to first prove their eligibility through literacy tests and character evaluations. The law allowed for the appointment of Federal voting examiners who would supervise voter registration and polling practices to ensure that the law was enforced. Within 5 months, 250,000 African Americans registered to vote for the very first time.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON WITH MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
Section 2 of the Act closely resembled the content of the 15th amendment which prohibited the denial or abridgment of the right to vote throughout the United States with the use of literacy tests. In addition, it called for new enforcement provisions in areas of the country that were seen to have the greatest potential for racial discrimination. Section 5, stated jurisdictions must have any election regulations preapproved by the federal government to ensure that they were not discriminatory in their intent or application.
Each time the Voting Rights Act was set to expire, the American leadership honored its vital role in the progress that had been achieved. In 1970 The Act was extended by President Richard Nixon, in 1975 it was extended by President Gerald Ford and revised to include a provision for bilingual voting instructions and materials. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan extended the Act for 25 years and then Congress extended it for 15 years in 1992. Finally, in 2006, it was reauthorized for an additional 25 years.
PRESIDENT JOHNSON PLAYED A CRUICIAL ROLE IN ENSURING MINORITY VOTING RIGHTS
In June 2013, a controversial case, Shelby v. Holder, was presented to the US Supreme Court. The 5-to-4 decision determined that the coverage formula the Voting Rights Act used to determine the states that were subject to preclearance was unconstitutional, thereby nullifying the section that required that named states must have federal approval to change election laws. The vote has been passionately contested by many. The majority cited that the conditions under which the Voting Rights Act had originally been established had changed significantly.
Among the evidence presented was the election of President Barak Obama as well as numerous African American mayors who were in office in the affected states. Critics say that this will open the door to the once common practice of gerrymandering of election districts that can have a devastating effect on the minority vote. Others uphold that any regulation should apply to all of the states, not only the named states that were at issue in 1965.
THE LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON FAMILY ENJOYING CHRISTMAS IN THE WHITE HOUSE
There are few topics that are as hotly debated as voter’s rights. While many statistics support the position that the racial discrimination that existed in the 1960’s is part of our past, civil rights watchdog groups and political organizations tell a different story. If the positive change that was created by the Voting Rights Act is to be sustained, the entire issue needs to be examined and addressed according to current conditions.
WHITE HOUSE CHINA PATTERN PICKED BY LADY BIRD JOHNSON - THE ABOVE JOHNSON SERVICE PLATE IS IN THE RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX COLLECTION
The Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection is proud to own many historical artifacts that are part of our nation’s rich history. Within the collection are numerous sets of White House china, including pieces from the official White House China of President Lyndon B. Johnson. As the Voting Rights Act was being signed into law, Lady Bird Johnson made her own mark in history with a uniquely designed theme connecting the American Eagle and American wildflowers. The Johnson White House China was designed by Tiffanys and manufactured by Castleton.
HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR - RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX
Many of the museum-quality historical artifacts (over 400), acquired by Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, will be sold in a live auction in Boston, Mass. on September 17-18, 2014 by RRAuction.com. Interested parties can see the official auction page at the link below: