At the core of election law in the United States are contestations over the rights of African Americans to participate and be represented in the democratic process. Consistent with Derrick Bell’s interest-convergence thesis, the outcome of the Black struggle for full citizenship has depended, at particular moments in time, on whether enough White Americans understand African American voting and representation to be in their own interest. The result has been halting progress toward a still-incomplete multiracial democracy. In this chapter, the author provides a history of the racial struggle for political inclusion with a focus on the South, where the intensity of the struggle has been the greatest. The author emphasizes African Americans’ agency in attaining political rights from legislatures and courts and the role of White partisans as facilitators of, and checks on, America’s progress toward a multiracial democracy.
Bertrall Ross, Race and Election Law: Interest-Convergence, Minority Voting Rights, and America’s Progress Toward a Multiracial Democracy, in The Oxford Handbook of Race and Law in the United States, Oxford University Press, C21S1–C21N119 (2023).