Submitted by Adria on June 21, 2006 - 3:03pm
In 1964, Fanny Lou Hamer, along with Ed King, MLK, Aaron Henry and sixty-some delegates of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party rode a bus to Atlantic City to challenge the seating of the regular white delegates of the Mississippi Democratic Party. Although the LBJ compromise was anything but a victory, the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. And in 1968, the Democrats seated an interracial delegation from Mississippi, and by 1972, all state delegations had to include minorities in proportion to their population within that state. Political scholar Theodore White wrote,
"There was a historical struggle in American politics at the 1964 Convention and that changed America more than the advent of television. The campaign would have been memorable enough if only for its illustration of television’s power. But history that year was to put on another demonstration that far out did TV’s impact on American politics. . . It was considered an interim compromise but it was to change the entire character of American politics from then on. Somehow this ban on exclusion would become an insistence on inclusion."
At the time, this insistence on inclusion widened the growing schism within the Democratic Party. As Zietz noted in his article in 2004, "Nobody knew it then, but that 1964 Democratic National Convention would be a turning point for the party. It was Atlantic City that sowed the seeds of the internecine wars that tore apart the Democratic coalition four years later in Chicago and that have left it wounded ever since."
After several immigration rallies this past semester and an emotional journey through the Civil Rights museum in Memphis during RSA, I cannot help but balk at the balking:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Republican leaders on Wednesday postponed a vote on renewing the 1965 Voting Rights Act after GOP lawmakers complained it unfairly singles out nine Southern states for federal oversight.
"We have time to address their concerns," Republican leaders said in a joint statement. "Therefore, the House Republican Leadership will offer members the time needed to evaluate the legislation."
It was unclear whether the legislation would come up this year. The temporary provisions don't expire until 2007, but leaders of both parties had hoped to pass the act and use it to further their prospects in the fall's midterm elections.
The statement said the GOP leaders are committed to renewing the law "as soon as possible."
The four-decade-old law enfranchised millions of black voters by ending poll taxes and literacy tests during the height of the civil rights struggle. A vote on renewing it for another 25 years had been scheduled for Wednesday, with both Republican and Democratic leaders behind it.
The abrupt change of plans in the House could affect the renewal in the Senate, where an identical bill was set for consideration next week by the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa.
"There's less pressure to do it if the House is not doing it," Specter said in a telephone interview.
The shift came after a private House GOP caucus meeting earlier Wednesday in which several Republicans also balked at extending provisions in the law that require ballots to be printed in more than one language in neighborhoods where there are large numbers of immigrants, said several participants.
Read it all here.