37¢ 1965 Voting Rights Act
To Form a More Perfect Union
Issue Date: August 27, 2005
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10.75 x 10.5
The 15th and 19th Amendments to the United States Constitution granted black citizens the right to vote. However, Southern registration boards used poll taxes, literacy tests, and other strategies to deny this right.
The murder of voting-rights activists in Mississippi in 1964 brought national attention to the issue. Then, on Sunday, March 7, 1965, Selma, AL, residents and supporters marched to demand an equal right to vote. Alabama police used tear gas and clubs against them.
President Johnson denounced “Bloody Sunday,” “Wednesday I will send to Congress a law designed to eliminate illegal barriers to the right to vote....It is wrong – deadly wrong – to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country.”
The voting rights bill Johnson sent to Congress removed the right of states to restrict who could vote in elections. The Act was passed by large majorities in both houses of Congress and signed into law on August 6.
Within months of its passage, a quarter of a million new black voters had registered. Within four years, voter registration in the South had more than doubled. In 1965, barely 100 African-Americans held any elective office in the U.S.; by 1989, there were more than 7,200. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 accomplished its purpose.