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Richard Will at Aug 15, 2019 05:33 PM


Wilkins - 7

funeral is not recorded.

To thoughtful students of the decade the most significant
action was the announcement and the carrying through to enactment
of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The effort, spearheaded by Presi
dent Johnson was, of course, a redress of the wrongs of many
decades. More importantly, however, it was the placing of a tool
in the hands of the black population with which it could fashion
its own protection and chart its own progress in a democratic

Lyndon Johnson had had the vote in mind for many years. He
had startled the country by voting for the civil rights bill of
1957 which emphasized the ballot. It did not seem to the Majority
Leader of the U. S. Senate that anyone in good conscience could
object to the extension of the right to vote to every citizen.

Undoubtedly he watched the upheavals of the Sixties in his
belief that political influence, based upon the vote, could sub
stitute constructively for many of the conflicts. So he bided his
time and once the Kennedy-sponsored Civil Rights Act was enacted
in 1964, he set out to achieve his own legistlative objective, which
became the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In preparation for the bill he included the Negro population
as well as the white majority. It has become the fashion in shap
ing a majority, to ignore the 22 millons of blacks. In October
a radio speaker handled this situation by saying: "And the basics
are the same in every part of the country. They are the same for
the Polish-American, the Italian-American, the Mexican-American,