Across the Nation, Efforts to Undo the Civil Rights Act Continue, Unabated

Fifty two years ago this past week, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This seminal legislation forbade discriminatory practice in public places, ordered integration in public schools and forbade discriminatory practice in the realm of employment. The following year in 1965, the Voting Rights Act was also passed. This Federal legislation aimed to undo the deplorable practices of Jim Crow laws and the continuing discrimination and suppression of African-Americans, particularly in the American South.  Almost immediately, efforts began to undo the gains of both Federal Acts and such efforts continue today, unabated.

Cosmetics and Dissembling: Dressing up Discrimination

Make no mistake, there’s a playbook that gets trotted out by Conservatives. One instance of this occurred in Birmingham, Alabama recently. The city council of Birmingham voted to enact a policy that would have raised the minimum wage to  $10.10 per hour. The import of Birmingham is integral to the Civil Rights movement for anyone knowing anything about the history of that struggle. The city is 74% Black and its city council is also predominantly black. The Governor of Alabama signed legislation that forbade municipalities from raising the minimum wage, striking down Birmingham’s City Council’s measure.  Fast-food workers and a variety of civil rights organizations have filed a law suit invoking both the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act. Under the latter the suit asserts that the striking down of the measure represents a dilution of the impact of African-American voters–Jim Crow revisited.

Similar Measures, Across the Nation–Undoing Civil Rights

Across the nation, from Alabama and Georgia to Wisconsin and Michigan, similar fights continue.  This past week, voting rights groups filed a federal law-suit against three States (Georgia, Alabama and Kansas), An action, undertaken unilaterally by a Federal Election official, argues the suit, effectively disenfranchises tens of thousands of voters through the imposition of stringent citizenship verification requirements. These sorts of actions are dressed up as quasi-patriotic and in the public interest, yet the real intent is to erect increasingly high barriers for a variety of sub-populations to both register and vote. Those disproportionately impacted include; the elderly, people of color, the handicapped and single moms.  By locating polling stations in hard-to-access areas, closing stations early, imposing ever stricter registration and voting requirements and making the filing of absentee ballots difficult what is really occurring is a perpetuation of the old Jim Crow laws.

 

Voting rights groups appeal federal form changes in 3 states, including KansasProspective voters in Alabama and Georgia also affected

Posted: July 1, 2016 – 4:38pm

Source: Voting rights groups appeal federal form changes in 3 states, including Kansas

WICHITA — Voting rights groups are appealing a judge’s order that they say threatens to disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters in three states in the upcoming November elections.

A notice of appeal filed Friday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia seeks a quick review of the actions of a U.S. elections official who added proof-of-citizenship requirements on a federal mail-in voter registration form. Read More