The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote as guaranteed under the 15th Amendment to the U.S. constitution.
This law immediately decreased racial discrimination in voting. The adjournment of literacy tests and the assignments of federal examiners and observers allowed for high numbers of racial minorities to register to vote. In 1965, nearly 250,000 African Americans registered to vote. By 1967, this number increased to more than half (52.1%), and a majority of African American residents became registered to vote in 9 of 13 southern states. Learn more.
Author: Skip White, Community Outreach Coordinator