14 Important Moments From The Passing Of The Voting Rights Act

A key provision of the law was struck down today. How the historic bill was passed in 1965.

1. President Johnson had this phone call with Martin Luther King Jr. discussing strategy for passing the law.

2. President Johnson gave this address to Congress urging the to pass the Voting Rights Act.

3. “There is no constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution is plain. There is no moral issue. It is wrong, deadly wrong, to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country.”

4. Martin Luther King, Jr. received this telegram requesting his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on the Voting Rights Act the day after President Johnson sent it to Congress.

5. Johnson gave these remarks on signing the Voting Rights Act.

6. “Today is a triumph for freedom, as huge as any victory that’s been won on any battlefield. But to seize the meaning of this day, we must recall darker times.”

7. “This act flows from a clear and simple wrong. It’s only purpose is to right that wrong.”

8. People looked on as Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in August 1965.

9. “We cannot, we must not, refuse to protect the right of every American to vote in every election that he may desire to participate in.”

10. Johnson handed a signing pen to Robert F. Kennedy who helped draft the bill.

11. Johnson held a signed copy of the bill with Congressional leaders Sen. Jacob Javits, Sen. Mike Mansfield, V.P. Hubert Humphrey, Sen. Everett Dirksen, and Speaker John McCormack who helped pass it.

12. Johnson then celebrated with a group of civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.

13. “This right to vote is the basic right without which all others are meaningless. It gives people, people as individuals, control over their own destinies.”

14. And on August 6, 1965, this copy of the Voting Rights Act was signed and passed into law.

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