and, e) at what was usually the close of the interview I asked oral authors about their plans for the future, and a number of open ended questions designed to get them to comment further on the political circumstances around them. In closing I asked what if any contribution they saw themselves making in the future.

     In making a few concluding remarks, the strongest message to come from the many Black elected officials surveyed by the MSRC's VRADP is that the work of the Voting Rights Act is far from done. In 1995 and 1996 many of those African American elected officials interviewed were alarmed and concerned that the Supreme Court would move too quickly based on inaccurate and misleading assumptions, assumptions that many believed would not stand muster in the context of America's deeply soiled racial past. All of those interviewed understood their role in its historical context, citing how often they were the first or nearly the first ever elected to statewide officeholding in their respective states, or the first elected after seasons of betrayal muted the song of jubilee during Reconstruction. The interviews are long, rich in information and detail, and deepened by the analysis of those who have lived the dramatic expansion of African American suffrage, political participation and political representation in eight states of the South.









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November 1999