US Voting Rights Act, Slavery was banned in 1865 and the citizenship of African Americans was affirmed in the 14th amendment of the constitution in 1868. In 1870, during the 15th amendment of the Constitution, discrimination and denial of voting rights to Americans on the basis of skin colour or race was banned. While the law protected the people of colour, it was not the situation in the country.
Especially in the southern states, during the reign of Jim Crow, the discrimination was even more evident. The Southern States of America set up legal barriers to prevent the coloured masses from voting. Such barriers included tough literacy tests and very high poll taxes such as the African American population will be automatically barred from taking part in the voting procedure.
Basically the condition in America ensured that only white male population of the country could cast votes. In 1920, with the 19th amendment to the Constitution, the women population of the country gained voting rights. That technically provided voting rights to all females of the USA but the population, all genders alike, were deprived of their right to vote, not illegally, but through legal barriers.
The struggle that women went through for voting rights is yet another story of valor.
Social pressure and deliberate voter suppression by white supremacist parties like Ku Klux Klan terrified the black population to the point that drastic fall in a number of black voters was noticed in all over the country, especially in the southern states. An example is the decrease of black registered voters would be the instance in Louisiana. In 1896, more than 130,000 African American voters had registered for voting but by 1904 the number had dwindled to 1,342. With time it worsened and in 1962, only 5% of the eligible black voters signed for voting.
These facts led to the mass struggle for equal and unbiased Civil Rights. The Civil Rights Movement that endured oppression, series of protests, and opposition by the racist white supremacist parties who aimed at shutting down the movement that demanded equality and protection from discrimination and oppression.
The movement gathered momentum in 1964 summer that was renamed as Freedom Summer. A mock ‘Freedom Election’ was held in Mississippi where there was the least number of black registration for votes due to oppression and discrimination. Around 60,000 black voters of Mississippi registered in the mock election to exhibit the power of the black votes.
But every peaceful protest from the end of equality seekers was met with violence and hate. The Klu Klux Klan members killed three workers who were involved with the project. Over the Freedom Summer, more than 80 fighters were beaten up, 35 shot and 6 were killed. After all the struggle only a few a couple of hundred blacks dared to register. But the movement was not a failure and it spread awareness about oppression and disparity. The Civil Right Act of 1964 strived to achieve equality. The Act was implemented which prohibited segregation or discrimination at recruitment of jobs and in public places. But that was not enough. The activists, including John Lewis, were for assured protection of African Americans in voting sessions from oppression.
After much struggle and famous “Bloody Sunday” when activists including John Lewis was beaten up brutally in Selma, Alabama, the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. On 17th March The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was introduced to the Congress by lawmakers who loved and respected the idea. The Act was implemented and John Lewis went on to the become a Congressman of Georgia where he served for 34 years.