Will King's Dream End Without the Voting Rights Act?

Supporters fight for the Voting Rights Act outside the Supreme Court. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Supporters fight for the Voting Rights Act outside the Supreme Court. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Writing at the Huffington Post, Kevin Powell argues that the Supreme Court's decision to strike down parts of the Voting Rights Act will reverse the progress made by civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr.

This historic gesture now frees nine American states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval. And it affects large black populations beyond the South, like Brooklyn, where I've lived half my life and where you can see the fruits of the Voting Rights Act by the healthy number of black elected officials in New York City's biggest borough.

Essentially Chief Justice John Roberts and the other four justices, including the only black member Clarence Thomas (himself a beneficiary of the Civil Rights Movement), ruled that the Voting Rights Act is no longer needed, that things have changed significantly. It is being left to Congress to determine where things ought to be fixed, if anywhere, going forward. The same Congress that has routinely blocked President Obama's ability to govern. The same modern Congress that can barely agree on anything.

How tragic this Supreme Court decision around Voting Rights is, and how sad that as we approach the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech in August, and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation this entire year of 2013, that we are still having debates and conversations about voting rights in America. That just when we seem to be going forward, we go backwards instead …


Read Kevin Powell's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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