2006 July 27

President George W. Bush Signs 25-Year Extension of 1965 Voting Rights Act


The law extending the 1965 Voting Rights Act for another 25 years, signed on this day, was officially called the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006. The Voting Rights Act had been extended several times since its initial enactment, on August 6, 1965. On June 25, 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder, however, the Supreme Court declared one of the major provisions of the law unconstitutional and, in the view of most experts, gutted the effectiveness of the law.

The law is named in part for Rosa Parks. Her challenge to segregated buses in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 1955, sparked the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the iconic events of the civil rights movement. Fannie Lou Hamer, meanwhile, is famous for her speech at the Democratic Party Convention on August 22, 1964, demanding that the Freedom Democratic Party delegation be seated at the convention rather than the all-white segregationist regular delegation from Mississippi.

Learn about the 2006 reauthorization battle: https://www.aclu.org/voting-rights/aclu-history-reauthorization-battles-1982-and-2006

Read: Chandler Davidson and Bernard Groffman, Quiet Revolution in the South: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act, 1965-1990 (1994)

Learn more: Ari Berman, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America (2015)

Follow a timeline on the 1965 Voting Rights Act: https://www.aclu.org/timeline-history-voting-rights-act

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