Aug 6, 2015

Happy Birthday, Voting Rights Act!

Fifty years ago today (August 6, 1965) the landmark VOTING RIGHTS ACT (more here from NPR) was signed into law. 

I remember the day. 
I was an adolescent during a decade experiencing its own extreme social adolescence. Within a span of ten years we were whiplashed through unforgettable events, amazing accomplishments, and unimaginable losses. Emotions didn't ebb and flow, they ricocheted between extremes depending on the events and the impact they had on polarizing beliefs that make today's differences look moderate by comparison. 

In fact, a surprising number of current  issues are deeply rooted in those tide-turning events, laws, and shifts from the sixties. To learn more about those years, check out this quick look at the decade via HISTORY.COM. (here).
Or explore this timeline of voting rights in our country.

Among the many stories of that era, those in a two-volume graphic history, in my opinion, tell it best. The primary author is Congressman John Lewis, a pivotal figure of those times and events.

Top Shelf Productions, 2013

MARCH: BOOK ONE, by John Lewis,  Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, released in 2013 and takes the reader through the March on Washington in 1963.  

Top Shelf Productions, 2015

Planned as a two volume set from the start, MARCH: BOOK TWO, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, released earlier this year. 

Both offer intense, realistic,and accessible entry to those times and issues for younger readers, but offer the same  benefits to adult readers who may have an intellectual awareness of that history but no emotional investment or connection to the reality of these events.

Schwartz and Wade, 2015
For even younger readers the story is brought to life through an even more recent release. I'm anxious to read Lillian's Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, by Jonah Winter and Shane W. Evans. 

I've read excellent reviews about it written by people I trust, like librarian Alyson Beecher on her blog, Kid Lit Frenzy. I hope you'll read the book, and her review, including this truth:
"Unfortunately, we do not seem to learn from our past mistakes.  Consequently, it is books like this that can help keep awareness alive in new generations."
Let's hope that books like these and their readers (of any age) will provide a perspective on current actions to undo voting and other rights. 

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