In addition, the Project sought to interview people who had been friends and foes of the VRA. My requests to interview those who had a favorable stand on the VRA in the past went smoothly, and when I could locate them, they consented to be interviewed providing I could afford to get to them on the Project's limited travel budget. The Project's earliest and most immediate interviews were conducted in the greater metropolitan Washington, DC area with members of the VRADP Advisory Committee (Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas in 1992; the late Frank Parker, Attorney, Law Professor and affiliate of the Joint Center for Political Studies; Dr. Ronald Walters, Chair, Political Science Department at Howard University; Julian Bond, former Georgia State Senator and State Representative; and, the late Dr. Vincent J. Browne, Emeritus Professor in Howard's Political Science Department), with one white male attorney and one white male civil rights advocate who were executive directors of prominent civil rights/labor coalition organizations during the period preceding passage of the Act; and with one retired white male senior staff attorney and one white male senior voting rights scholar at the Department of Justice. But the calls and faxes of the Moorland-Spingarn staff and myself proved futile when it came to my attempts to interview some of the Washington-based congressional representatives who had been so vitriolic towards the VRA and its amendments several decades ago.

     An immense debt of gratitude goes to Ms. Robin Rooks who was the Project's main research assistant. I am especially grateful to her because she stayed focused on insuring that the logistics of the Project went as smoothly as possible. This was especially important to me because timing was of the essence as state legislative sessions met at specific times (some annually and biannually). But, I was also intent on integrating my responsibilities to the Project with my teaching and faculty obligations in the History Department and Women's Studies Program at Georgetown University. Everything that Ms. Rooks did, including her timely data management innovations, contributed to insuring that a well organized and efficient research project went forward with relatively few glitches.

 

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November 1999