The second group is composed of those with national, state and local leaders of civil rights organizations, including some that flourished for relatively brief periods of time. Noteworthy in this category are interviews with individuals associated with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Urban League, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

The third group comprises 31 interviews with members of state legislatures, city and county councils, and city and state boards of education. A substantial number are with newly elected southern Black officials who owed their elections directly to passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. These interviews capture the initial impressions of people like: Fred Alexander, elected to the Charlotte, NC City Council in 1968; Lucius Amerson, the first Black elected sheriff of Tuskegee, Alabama; Julian Bond, elected to the Georgia State Legislature in 1966; Ruth Charity elected to the Danville, VA City Council in 1970; Robert G. Clark, elected Mississippi state senator in 1968; Fred Davis, elected to the Memphis, TN City Council in 1968; Maynard L. Jackson, the first Black vice mayor of Atlanta and later its first Black Mayor; Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas State Representative, who later served as state Senator and U.S. Representative from Texas; and L. Douglas Wilder, first Black Virginia state senator 1969-1985, and first Black governor of Virginia and who currently serves as a member of the Howard University Board of Trustees.

 

VOTING RIGHTS ACT ORAL HISTORY AND DOCUMENTATION PROJECT

It was out of this solid research foundation, the Ralph J. Bunche Oral History Collection, that the proposal for the Voting Rights Act Oral History and Documentation Project was born. The project was conceptualized in 1992 in anticipation of the 30th anniversary of passage of the Voting Rights Act. By then it was clear to scholars, politicians, and others, that the Act had affected a sea of change in the nation’s political structure and altered the face of American government.

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November 1999