Making Contact

Thwarting Democracy: The Battle for Voting Rights (Encore)

editedlyndonSince the 2013 Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act, many states have pushed a dizzying array of changes to voter laws that raise disturbing connections to the past.

On this week’s show, we’ll hear stories about the hard fought battles for the right to vote, and examine whether modern day voting requirements are a step backwards in the ongoing struggle for civil rights.


Reverend Tyrone Edwards, civil rights historian in Plaquemines Parish Louisiana; Tyrone Brooks, Georgia State Representative; Clifford Kuhn, Professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; JT Johnson, civil rights organizer; Allen Secher, rabbi; Jerel James and Tamia Adkinson, docents at Civil Rights Museum of St. AugustineAugust Tinson, testified in U.S. vs Fox (1962); Gary May, professor of history at the University of Delaware and the author of Bending Towards Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy.

 Music in show:

Ain’t Scared of Your Jails,” sung at civil rights march in Washington, D.C. August 1963

“Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring” by Newton Balloon

“Vaya” by andrés elstein

“Equal Soul” by Trans Atlantic Rage / Balogh


Host: Laura Flynn

Producers: Laura Flynn, Andrew Stelzer, George Lavender, Jasmin Lopez

Contributing Producers: Anna Simonton and Dina Weinstein

Executive Director: Lisa Rudman

Web Editor: Kwan Booth

More information:

Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy By Gary May

Civil Rights Library of St. Augustine

The Formula Behind the Voting Rights Act New York Times

Southern Poverty Law Center

Department of Justice

NY Times:

Tracking changes of voting law changes

ProPublica Civil Rights timeline


Voting Rights Act timeline

Movement Music

Freedom Songs: Selma, Alabama

Lyrics of the Freedom Songs

 Articles, reports, etc.

Court Decisions on Voting Rules Sow Confusion in state Races New York Times

Issues Related to State Voter Identification Laws U.S. Government Accountability Office

United States v. Fox, 211 F. Supp. 25 (E.D. La. 1962) District Court, E.D. Louisiana.

Remembering A Civil Rights Swim-In: It was A Milestone’

Lyndon B. Johnson speech Before Congress on Voting Rights (March 15, 1965)


  • Shari Sherrod

    I will never look unfavorably on my right to vote, but I have to say the average person, those of the middle class are beginning to see the face of politics changing so drastically that it is hard for many voters to feel motivated on election day to get out to the polls. At work are a couple major issues. The first being the lack of diverse representation politically . What I mean by that is diversity with regards to socio-ecomonic and party affiliation. The second being the amount of red tape the bureaucrats have wrapped around passing laws. Sure you can get legislation passed, but then what becomes of the process thereafter? Even the older people are disenchanted with the “system”. It’s my opinion that this form of disenchantment will not just influence the attitude of younger voters but also create some of the lowest numbers of voter turnout on election day. Until there is dramatic reform in the way things get done, there will be a lot of non-participants.

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