50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

THU, AUG 6, 2015 (00:00)

On the day marking 50 years since President Johnson and the U.S. Congress signed the Voting Rights Act into law, a distinguished collection of leaders and activists convened by the Museum of African American History and the Social Justice Institute at Boston University, will discuss how our pioneers of social justice understood the pleas of a marginalized people and led the charge for equality. Frederick Douglass underscored the importance of the vote when he declared, “Slavery is not abolished until the black man has the ballot,” in a speech delivered May 1865. Nearly 100 years later, voting rights continued to be a focus of the modern civil rights movement, with a march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital in Montgomery on March 7, 1965. This peaceful protest was met by an attack by state troopers at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. Following years of organized campaigns for equal rights and attacks against protestors, culminated by the violence on what is now known as “Bloody Sunday,” moved President Johnson and the U.S. Congress to act. Five months later on August 6, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law. Challenges to this 1965 milestone, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other landmark decisions continue to be met by all manner of resistance. (Image: Lyndon Johnson signs Voting Rights Act of 1965//en.wikipedia.org)

+ BIO: Hon. Carol Moseley Braun

Carol Moseley Braun is an American politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was the first and to date only female African-American Senator, the first African-American U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party, the first woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in an election, and the first and to date only female Senator from Illinois. She founded Ambassador Organics in Chicago in 2005.

+ BIO: Susannah Heschel

Susannah Heschel is an American author and professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College.

+ BIO: Beverly Morgan-Welch

Beverly A. Morgan-Welch serves as the chief executive of the oldest and most visible African American history museum in New England located on Bostons Beacon Hill and Nantucket. With four historic sites and collections that preserve the powerful past of African Americans from the Colonial Period through the Abolitionist Movement, the museum provides Black Heritage Trail tours, exhibits and education programs that illuminate and share a liberating American History. Beverlys career spans three decades of experience in not-for-profit management and corporate philanthropy. She has served as the Executive Director of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, Director of Development at the Wadsworth Atheneum, and Assistant Dean of Admission at Amherst College. Beverly was also the Manager of Community Relations at Raytheon, a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Hartford, and Secretary of the Connecticut Mutual Life Foundation serving the companys Corporate Social Responsibility Department. As a volunteer, her achievements include serving as Co-Chairperson of the Inauguration of the Honorable Deval Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and raising funds for the Bishop Desmond Tutu Southern African Refugee Scholarship Fund. A graduate of Smith College with a major in Theatre and Speech, in 2009, she received the Smith Medal awarded to graduates who, in the judgment of the trustees, exemplify in their lives and work the true purpose of a liberal arts education. Currently she is a Member of three distinguished history institutions: the Antiquarian Society, the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Historical Society. Beverly Morgan-Welch, the widow of the Reverend Mark Welch, resides in Andover, Massachusetts with their daughter, Alexandra.

+ BIO: Dr. Keith L. Magee

Dr. Magee is the executive director of The National Public Housing Museum and Center for the Study of Housing and Society, Chicago, IL. He took the appointment after serving as a senior advisor, religious affairs, with the Obama Campaign and as a senior director at the Museum of African American History-Boston and Nantucket.

Museum of African American History
African American Culture Series
Civil Rights Movement Series
A History of Protest