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Racial Justice Resources for Activists, Advocates & Allies

This guide serves as a resource for the UC community to learn about activism and allyship as it pertains to racial justice and anti-racism.

Voting Rights

“My dear friends: Your vote is precious, almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.” – John Lewis quote on voting, 2012 speech in Charlotte, North Carolina

“If white American women, with all their natural and acquired advantages, need the ballot, that right protective of all other rights; if Anglo Saxons have been helped by it … how much more do Black Americans, male and female, need the strong defense of a vote to help secure them their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” — Adella Hunt Logan, author, Tuskegee Institute professor and member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association

 

  • 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century. Through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise African Americans. It would take the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote.
  • The 19th amendment legally guarantees American women the right to vote. Achieving this milestone required a lengthy and difficult struggle—victory took decades of agitation and protest. Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change of the Constitution. Few early supporters lived to see final victory in 1920.
  • Voting Rights Act (1965) This act was signed into law on August 6, 1965, by President Lyndon Johnson. It outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting.

 

 

 

Voting Rights: videos

5-Minute History of Voting Rights Since 1965: The Voting Rights Act was signed into law on August 6, 1965. We're still fighting for fair and equal access to the ballot, 54 years later.

 

Scholar Exchange: Voting Rights Amendments with Jamelle Bouie (National Constitution Center)

In this civics lesson, Jamelle Bouie—New York Times columnist and political analyst for CBS News covering campaigns, elections, national affairs, and culture—explores the history of the right to vote in America and answers student questions. Where does the U.S. Constitution protect the right to vote? What role did the constitutional amendment process play in shaping voting rights? What has the U.S. Supreme Court said about the right to vote over time?

Voting Rights web resources

Voting Rights organizations

Voting Rights Activists

Voting rights books

Women's Suffrage

Gerrymandering

Gerrymandering, in U.S. politics, the practice of drawing the boundaries of electoral districts in a way that gives one political party an unfair advantage over its rivals (political or partisan gerrymandering) or that dilutes the voting power of members of ethnic or linguistic minority groups (racial gerrymandering). A basic objection to gerrymandering of any kind is that it tends to violate two tenets of electoral apportionment—compactness and equality of size of constituencies. (Britannica)

 

Gerrymandering videos

Gerrymandering /Films on Demand (E-resource, UC login required) Gerrymandering is defined as the carving up of a state into districts in a way that allows one political party to gain more clout than another. It has also been called the most effective way to manipulate an election's outcome short of outright fraud. Focusing on the fight to pass Proposition 11 - drafted to give redistricting power to a bipartisan rather than legislative group - this documentary explores the ethical implications of gerrymandering and looks at some historical examples of how the practice has been used.

Gerrymandering Is Destroying the Political Center: A Debate Does the practice of gerrymandering- dividing election districts into units to favor a particular group- subvert democracy by making certain congressional districts "safe" for one party or the other and more susceptible to extremist views? Some argue that gerrymandering has made American politics more polarized, pulling voters away from the mainstream and farther to the left or right. Others argue, however, that its impact is limited, and that various factors- talk radio, Internet "echo chambers," and weak campaign finance laws- are far more significant. Is gerrymandering destroying the political center?

Gerrymandering / redistricting web resources

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