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Dream and LegacyDr. Martin Luther King in the Post-Civil Rights Era$
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Michael L. Clemons, Donathan L. Brown, and William H. L. Dorsey

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496811844

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496811844.001.0001

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Through the Eyes of King

Through the Eyes of King

Assessing Contemporary Challenges to Voting Rights

(p.9) Through the Eyes of King
Dream and Legacy

Donathan L. Brown

University Press of Mississippi

Whether it was his 1957 address, “Give us the Ballot,” or his involvement in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, which lead to the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. left no stone unturned when battling voter suppression.  Until his assassination in 1968, King led a historic movement against the discursive countervailing forces aimed at inequality and continual disenfranchisement against people of color. Guided by King’s words and actions pertaining to voter rights, this essay’s primary focus pertains to recent attempts at the passage of voter identification laws throughout the country. While proponents argue that requiring photo identification will preserve the “integrity” of voting, or serve as a safeguard against voter fraud, though simultaneously arguing that such measures are devoid of discriminatory impact and intent, I argue otherwise. In what follows, this chapter asserts that voter identification laws represent a grave departure from King’s philosophy on political participation by means of retrogressing the nation back to the days prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. To begin, this chapter will briefly recap some of King’s landmark involvements in voting rights, before analyzing recent developments over voter identification laws and lawsuits, namely the landmark cases, State of Texas v. Holder and Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., before concluding with final thoughts and updates.

Keywords:   Voting Rights, Retrogression, Voter ID, Representation

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