Almost 47 years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the fight for voters’ rights continues as state legislatures across the country seek to enact laws that would disenfranchise some voters. And just as in 1965, present-day civil rights leaders are making their concerns known through a method commonly used by social-justice advocates: marching.
As BET.com has previously reported, civil rights leaders will take to the streets of Alabama to commemorate the historic Selma to Montgomery voting rights march. Over the course of five days, Rev. Al Sharpton, president of National Action Network (NAN), Congressman John Lewis, who helped lead the march in 1965 with Martin Luther King, the NAACP and the National Urban League and many others, will travel the same route activists did in 1965.
"It's amazing that almost 50 years after the historic voting rights legislation was enacted that we now find ourselves under attack yet again,” Rev. Al Sharpton tells BET.com. “After countless sacrifices — including many people of all races that literally gave their lives for equality — we are watching the very gains we achieved being slowly and covertly stripped away.”
Some of the laws governments would like to see enacted include legislation that restricts early voting and Sunday voting, laws requiring a photo ID on election day — introducing the first financial document barrier to voting since the Jim Crow-era poll tax — and new bans on ex-felons, which some critics are calling racially motivated.
Marchers will begin at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Sunday and end their journey Friday with a rally at the Alabama state capitol. In addition to the physical march, daily rallies and “teach-ins” in cities along Route 80 in Alabama are planned to educate participants about the efforts to defeat voter identification legislation and reverse anti-immigration laws in the state.
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(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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