A vote is a voice.
Equal access to the ballot box safeguards all other rights. However, this pivotal instrument of American democracy was denied to much of the population of our nation until 1965 with the passage of the Voting Rights Act. This law impacted society by changing the political wind, enfranchising minority voters, and breaking down barriers of hatred. Originally intended for African-American voters, this turning point in American democracy has broadened its scope to include other minority groups. The act continues to prevent racial injustice in our voting system.
"It is wrong, deadly wrong to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote"
- President Lyndon B. Johnson addressing Congress,
March 15, 1965
"[T]he vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.'"
- President Lyndon B. Johnson, at the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Source: Sing for Freedom, Smithsonian Museum