1965 Voting Rights Act

Congress Protects the Right to Vote: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration’s Center for Legislative Archives)

“By analyzing evidence reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee related to the Voting Rights Act, students must wrestle with the same issues faced by the committee as it created landmark civil rights legislation. Ten primary source documents allow students to see multiple perspectives which enable them to evaluate Congress’s actions and assess whether the Federal Government should have taken over from the states the power to qualify and register voters.”

Voting Rights – The March @50; Episode 2 (PBS LearningMedia)
“The Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder shook the Voting Rights Act to the core. Shukree sits down with Edward Blum, whose firm provided counsel to plaintiffs in the Shelby County case, and Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, to determine the reasons behind this turning point case and what it means for the future of voting in America.”

Expanding Voting Rights (Teaching Tolerance)
The third of a series of lessons about expanding voting rights.

From Selma to Montgomery: An introduction to the 1965 marches (PBS NewsHour)
Students read a one-page overview of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Marches and watch three video clips (about a minute each) from the film Selma; students watch three videos (about 2.5 minutes each), analyze the content and answer critical thinking questions; students watch an interview with Selma director Ava DuVernay and watch a PBS NewsHour segment, “High Court Strikes Down Key Provision of Voting Rights Act.” Each clip is about 10 minutes.

Vote America! (Texas Young Lawyers Association)
Vote America! (28:44) educates students about suffrage. The struggles of the civil rights era, passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the 15th, 19th, and 26th amendments to the U.S. Constitution are chronicled in this video.

Seize the Vote (National Constitution Center)
In this online interactive game, players test their knowledge of voting rights and gain the right to participate in the ultimate act of citizenship for their characters!

The Redistricting Game (USC Annenberg Center for Communication)
The Redistricting Game is designed to educate, engage, and empower citizens around the issue of political redistricting. See “Mission 4: Voting Rights Act – Ensure minority representation in the State of Hamilton.”

Voting Rights (iCivics)
With guided notes, students explore the evolution of voting rights in the United States through an interactive PowerPoint presentation highlighting landmark changes.

Felon Voting (ProCon.org)
“Should felons be allowed to vote?” is the core question explored on this site, with arguments and support given both pro and con.

Voter ID, Voting Requirements, and Vote Counting (American Bar Association)
Students take an actual Alabama literacy test, grade it in class, and use the results to determine if they would have been eligible to vote prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. They also analyze excerpts of the act and learn about voting requirements in their own state.

13. Voting and Elections: Voter Restriction Cases – Background, Activity, and Current Status (Street Law)

Voting Rights Act (History.com)
Article, videos, speeches.


The fight to strengthen Voting Rights Act is not over yet (MSNBC)

50 Years After Voting Rights Act, Activists Mentor ‘Black Lives Matter’ Generation
(WGBH News)

Attorney general: Voting Rights Act ‘under siege’ 50 years after Selma
(Aljazeera America)

Fifty years after Selma’s ‘Bloody Sunday,’ immigrants join fight against racism
(WGBH News)

Trial challenging 2013 voting changes in North Carolina begins in federal court (Star Tribune)

One Person, One Vote? The Supreme Court will consider whether equality of representation requires equal numbers of eligible voters, or equal numbers of people (The Atlantic)

N.C. case represents pivotal point of voting debate (The Washington Post)

A DREAM UNDONE: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act (The New York Times)

Minnesota’s 1965 Leaders Honored On 50th Anniversary Of Voting Rights Act (CBS Minnesota)