Wilkins -- 9
are, in addition, many blacks who have been appointed to office.
The stepped-up registration of voters accounts for much of
this increase, particularly in areas where there had been, before
1966, little effort to register blacks. In fact, there had been
active efforts to disenfranchise negroes. In the words of President
Johnson, in his message of March 15, 1965, "Every device of which
human ingenuity is capable has been used to deny this right."
For the Sixties the conception and enactment of the voting
rights act was a high point. Despite its competition from griev
ous assassinations, violent encounters with the police and spec
tacular repression of the Negro population, the voting measure
may prove to have been the most significant accomplishment of the
decade in the area of civil rights.
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