Joe Biden leads reenactment of Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Maybe the U.S. Supreme Court Justices should have attended to get a sense of history as to why the Voting Rights Act remains vitally important to voting rights in this country. Biden Leads Re-enactment of Voting Rights March – NYTimes.com:

Vice President Joe Biden and black leaders commemorating a famous civil rights march on Sunday said efforts to diminish the impact of African-Americans' votes haven't stopped in the years since the 1965 Voting Rights Act added millions to Southern voter rolls.

More than 5,000 people followed Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma's annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

The event commemorates the "Bloody Sunday" beating of voting rights marchers — including a young Lewis — by state troopers as they began a march to Montgomery in March 1965. The 50-mile march prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act that struck down impediments to voting by African-Americans and ended all-white rule in the South.

Selma
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Representative John Lewis of Georgia led more than 5,000 people over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.,to commemorate the 48th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. (By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Biden, the first sitting vice president to participate in the annual re-enactment, said nothing shaped his consciousness more than watching TV footage of the beatings. "We saw in stark relief the rank hatred, discrimination and violence that still existed in large parts of the nation," he said.

Biden said marchers "broke the back of the forces of evil," but that challenges to voting rights continue today with restrictions on early voting and voter registration drives and enactment of voter ID laws where no voter fraud has been shown.

"We will never give up or give in," Lewis told marchers.

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Attorney General Eric Holder, the defendant in Shelby County's suit, told marchers that the South is far different than it was in 1965 but is not yet at the point where the most important part of the voting rights act can be dismissed as unnecessary.

Martin Luther King III, whose father led the march when it resumed after Bloody Sunday, said, "We come here not to just celebrate and observe but to recommit."

One of the NAACP attorneys who argued the case, Debo Adegbile, said when Congress renewed the Voting Rights Act in 2006, it understood that the act makes sure minority inclusion is considered up front.

"It reminds us to think consciously about how we can include all our citizens in democracy. That is as important today as it was in 1965," he said.

Adegbile said the continued need for the law was shown in 2011 when undercover recordings from a bribery investigation at the Alabama Legislature included one white legislator referring to blacks as "aborigines" and other white legislators laughing.

"This was 2011. This was not 1965," he said.

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