Black Leaders' Complacency Led to Voting Rights Disaster
The June 25 Supreme Court ruling tearing the guts out of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 should be a surprise to nobody. As recently as 2009, Chief Justice John Roberts telegraphed his specific intent to kneecap the Voting Rights Act by invalidating its enforcement formula.
"Things have changed in the South. Voter turnout and registration rates now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels..."
Enforcement of the Voting Rights Act rested on the history of open and legal Jim Crow in the south persisting right up until the 1960s, along with the enormous disparities between black and white voter registration and turnout. In 1965 for example, only 7% of African Americans in Mississippi were registered to vote, compared to 70% of whites.