The Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 is a milestone in national legislation that prohibits discriminatory voting practices from disenfranchising African Americans. The act, which was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, makes it illegal to require eligible voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote.
In the same year the act was passed, many key events took place throughout the Civil Rights Movement: Malcolm X was assassinated, the Selma to Montgomery marches occurred, the Watts riots in Los Angeles occurred, and President Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 to enforce Affirmative Action for the first time.
Since its initial passage, the act has expanded its reach with amendments that assist language minorities in the voting process by providing language-specific election materials to jurisdictions with large numbers of language minorities.
To learn more about the 50 year anniversary of the VRA, click here.