Has the Revolution Been Specified? A Critical Assessment of the Status of Research on the Voting Rights Act and Black Politics

March 2008
Western Journal of Black Studies;Spring2008, Vol. 32 Issue 1, p53
Academic Journal
August 6, 2007 represented the 42nd anniversary of the enactment of the Voting Rights Act. Scholars have documented a great deal of the legacy of the VRA in terms of the voter registration, the initial white resistance to reform, classic legal battles, and the rise of black elected officials (BEOS) that ensued. However, intensive and systematic evaluation of the legacy of the VRA in the communities that served as the crucible for its genesis (primarily rural, small town or medium sized cities in the Deep South) is noticeably scarce. Thus, the goals of this essay are two-fold: 1) to critically examine and review the questions scholars have addressed when studying the Voting Rights Revolution, and 2) to empirically make the case for the need of greater specification of the consequences of this Revolution in terms of the politics of governance in the smaller communities of the South where a substantial number of the "protected" class continues to reside. I argue that such information would bolster our knowledge of the post-1965 Black Political Experience (particularly in the South) and provide more systematic and empirical evidence of the places in greatest need of continued voting rights supervision.


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