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participation. Potential abuses may become reality unless effective
oversight of basic guarantees provided by the Voting Rights Act is
vigorously maintained.

Finally, a careful student of the effects of law on social
change, Frederic Wirt, in his book, Politics of Southern Equality,
has concluded, "The federal presence should remain to continue
the enforcement of (anti-discrimination) law. If it does not, if
it slackens in enforcement, there will be a quick return to the
old ways, for no change expanding black equality has come without
firm law enforcement. The time is still at least a generation
away when observers can talk of changes in the hearts of whites,
when the moral weight of law has been absored in those hearts."

The Voting Rights Act must be continued as an effective
instrument to insure that the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitu
tion be a reality to all people. While there will be debate over
the form of renewal, I think these are the critical elements :
(1) renewal of the 1970 nation-wide ban on the use of literacy
tests; (2) the need for the Voting Rights Act to be nation-wide
in its application and effects. This will call for either
elimination of the "trigger mechanism" which served to pinoint
southern jurisdictions for enforcement of the Act, or for making
the mechanism uniformly mandatory whenever and wherever less than
50% of eligible voters are registered. Expanding the Act to one
of nation-wide scope may raise questions of effective enforcement,
but on the verge of the Nation's 200th Anniversary which will
celebrate our founding principles, we can do no less than point
to the necessity of guaranteeing basic rights to all citizens;

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BettyJoyce Nash

Original text underlines Politics of Southern Equality