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Remembering the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Since 1965, the Voting Rights Act has been one of the most prominent pieces of civil rights legislation. Its aim: to ensure that people in areas with a history of racial discrimination receive fair treatment when they vote. The Supreme Court revisited a key provision of the landmark law, called the preclearance clause, this year. The court plans to rule this June on its constitutionality.

The Supreme Court’s attention on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 allows PBS NewsHour to look back in history. We asked viewers to share memories surrounding the passage of the law and the civil rights era. We received more than 100 calls from over 30 states. We heard from those who volunteered and marched in support of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, former U.S. Department of Justice workers who helped implement the law, and callers who said they later realized the Voting Rights Act’s importance.

We invite you to listen to these powerful pieces of history. Click on the project here, or listen to them in our playlist, below.

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