The Voting Rights Act Turns 50
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
Anniversaries can, and should, serve as moments not only of celebration but also of reflection and reconsideration. This 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is no different. The Act stands as a monument to the power of ordinary Americans to create dramatic social, legal, and political change. The Act passed because ordinary people were willing to put their livelihoods, their safety, and their lives on the line in order to publicize not only the injustices they faced but the certainty of their conviction that the United States government could, indeed had to, do something about it. In turn, this anniversary prompts celebration of the will of the federal government to take on the systematic exclusion of millions of Americans from meaningful citizenship and to devote prodigious resources toward its eradication.