We are also generally familiar with the Act's initial impact
on black voter registration and participation in the southern
electoral process. The total number of black voters in the South
has nearly doubled since 1964, with the highest proportional
increases coming, as might be expected, in those states directly
covered by the Act. Additionally, the number of black elected
officials has increased over tenfold since 1964. A third outgrowth
of the Act can be seen in the psychological impact with the
increasing numbers of black voters has had on southern white
politicians. While some "old time" office holders have scrubbed
up their style and language, others have been defeated, and younger
more progressive office seekers have taken their place.

The presence of Barbara Jordan, Andy Young, and Harold Ford
in Congress is symbolic of what we hope the long-range impact of
the Act can be, but there is no millenium as yet. Just try to
identify, for example, a southern legislature which reflects in
whole or in part the policy goals of poor and/or black southerners.

In my judgment, there are five major considerations which
make the renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 1975 an absolute
necessity for the health of the regional and national body politic
and for continued movement toward a jsut society. In brief, these
considerations are:

1. The past and present history in the South of attempts
at massive exclusion of blacks from the electoral
process and its rewards;

Notes and Questions

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BettyJoyce Nash

Paragraph 3, line 1, original text underlines "five"


Added. Thank you!