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Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America (2015)

de Ari Berman

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History. Nonfiction. The adoption of the landmark Voting Rights Act in 1965 enfranchised millions of Americans and is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement. And yet fifty years later we are still fighting heated battles over race, representation, and political power-over the right to vote, the central pillar of our democracy. A groundbreaking narrative history of voting rights since 1965, Give Us the Ballot tells the story of what happened after the act was passed. Through meticulous archival research, fresh interviews with the leading participants in the ongoing struggle, and incisive on-the-ground reporting, Ari Berman chronicles the transformative impact the act had on American democracy and investigates how the fight over the right to vote has continued in the decades since. From new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth, to cynical efforts to limit political representation by gerrymandering electoral districts, to the Supreme Court's recent stunning decision that declared a key part of the Voting Rights Act itself unconstitutional, Berman tells the dramatic story of the pitched contest over the very heart of our democracy. At this important historical moment, Give Us the Ballot brings new insight to one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.… (mais)
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recommended by Jess Young
  pollycallahan | Jul 1, 2023 |
This book is an onslaught. Berman, in meticulous detail, walks the reader through the history of the fight surrounding voting rights in modern times. From the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 up through the present day, he follows the ups and downs of the movement to secure the rights supposedly guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. I think this book will make you angry…real angry. But it might leave you with hope too. And it certainly will give you story after story of how conservatives from the Goldwater era to the Renquist/Regan era through today’s Roberts court have continually used specious politicking to justify removing measures that increase voter turnout and instituting those that suppress it; how at every victory voting rights were eroded again first by more blatant racism but then by post-racial arguments of color-blindness. Did I mention this book will make you angry? But the fight goes on and in his journalistic style, he gives the stories of those still inspired by Selma who remember the folks who died for their right to vote and aren’t ready to see their own taken away so easily.

I think everyone should read this book. It is dense, but it reveals so much about what is going on within our political system today. ( )
  dan4mayor | Jun 28, 2018 |
This is a very solid recitation of the need for, passing of, long time reinforcement of, and eventual partial dismantling of America's Voting Rights Act of 1965. If one wanted to simplify its theme, it would be Republicans don't want you to vote unless its for them and Democrats want you to be able to vote...period. Before reading this, I thought I had learned everything I needed to know about disenfranchising minorities in America. I was wrong. This book goes into a whole other level of analysis of how majority (and sometimes just plurality) political interests manipulate laws and regulations to keep entire swaths of the population from having any meaningful say in their government. If I had any complaint of the work, it was the tendency for the author to cite unfavorable court decisions as political conspiracies and manipulations but favorable court decisions as just naturally intelligent and just. If I may be allowed one aside, I would like to urge this book be read by any Bernie Sanders supporters who recently claimed the 2016 closed primary in New York State (but not in Florida, for some reason) was worse than the disenfranchisement of blacks by the South. ( )
1 vote larryerick | Apr 26, 2018 |
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History. Nonfiction. The adoption of the landmark Voting Rights Act in 1965 enfranchised millions of Americans and is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement. And yet fifty years later we are still fighting heated battles over race, representation, and political power-over the right to vote, the central pillar of our democracy. A groundbreaking narrative history of voting rights since 1965, Give Us the Ballot tells the story of what happened after the act was passed. Through meticulous archival research, fresh interviews with the leading participants in the ongoing struggle, and incisive on-the-ground reporting, Ari Berman chronicles the transformative impact the act had on American democracy and investigates how the fight over the right to vote has continued in the decades since. From new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth, to cynical efforts to limit political representation by gerrymandering electoral districts, to the Supreme Court's recent stunning decision that declared a key part of the Voting Rights Act itself unconstitutional, Berman tells the dramatic story of the pitched contest over the very heart of our democracy. At this important historical moment, Give Us the Ballot brings new insight to one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.

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