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Lyndon B. Johnson and Literacy Tests Essay

Over the last fifty years, a lot has changed when it comes voting and racial discrimination. The marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama have changed our history as a whole, forever. The intentions of the three marches were for African Americans to have the right to vote just like the white men. There were three different attempts for the marches from Selma to Montgomery: March 7, March 9, and March 21, 1965. The attempts to gain their voting rights came at a price they were beaten, clubbed, murdered, trampled upon and all kinds of things by the police during these marches. At least Even though the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had just been passed only a couple months before, African Americans were still being discriminated at the polls. They were not allowed to vote and if they were allowed to register than they were given literacy tests, which majority of them failed. Unlike during 1965 when the marches took place, African Americans did not have the right to vote, they were segregated, discriminated upon, etc.

Martin Luther King, the spokesperson or leader for the people during marches, wanted to march in a nonviolent manner to show the police and everyone else that they were not animals and they would not give up until they were given the rights that they deserve. The result of these marches came when President Lyndon Johnson address Congress involving the matter asking for legislation that would prohibit the polls in using barriers to prevent African Americans from voting. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed that August 1965. This piece of legislation basically states that the government can’t discriminate during the voting process based on race and also prohibits the use of literacy tests as a requirement to vote because most black people during this time could neither read or write.

Also under this act the United States attorney general had to challenge the use of poll taxes for local and state elections. Things in this, the twenty-first century, are much better than they were during Selma marches because there is a lot less racism and discrimination towards African Americans. African Americans have the same rights as white men, as do women, as written in the Bill of Rights. If Selma would have never occurred, or occurred in a violent manner rather than the nonviolent way it was, Africans Americans might not have the right to vote to this day, or worse. Also, without out the success of the Selma to Montgomery we would more than likely not have as many African Americans in political office as we do today.

Times are so much better now than they were fifty years ago because African Americans now have 100% freedom and all of their rights. African Americans, as well as women, get to vote without having to worry about being discriminated against, as well as tested. Selma created leeway for a greater number of African Americans to become involved in political affairs at local, state, and national levels. Selma affected our political system a lot and without it we more than likely wouldn’t have some of the people we do in major positions in the government, such as President Obama.

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