Conversations about black people and elections did not begin in 1870, with the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They did not end in 1965, with Congress’s passage of the Voting Rights Act. These two pieces of American legislation do not serve as the boundaries for examining the disenfranchising of people of color. Voter suppression continued in the form of mandatory literacy tests, voter ID laws, and gerrymandering. While more than half a century separates us from these recordings, their messages could not be more relevant.
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