We are gathered here at an auspicious moment in history, exactly
ten years ago tonight, the historic March from Selma to Montgomery began, the march
that set in motion the 1965 Voting Rights that is responsible for many of your
being where you are.
You additionally know that the 1965 Act will expire in August of this year unless
we are successful in renewing it, and you must also know that great
differences now exist among its supporters.
There are those who want simple extension of the existing act, with its coverage of
the seven southern states and a few counties in states outside this region.
But there are also those like myself who will insist that the protection under which
we have increased the number of Black elected officials in this region from less
than 75 ten years ago to 1,500 today be extended to Black and Brown people
all across the United States. /2
To illustrate just what we've acccomplished, let me quote at length from testimony
offered on Monday to the House Judiciary Committee by John Lewis, Executive Director
of the Voter Education Project:
Mr. Lewis said then:
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