Black politicians would be nowhere without the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and they must push for its extension in Congress in 2007. That message from civil rights leaders in Montgomery Saturday to a crowd of nearly 300 marchers at the finale of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march re-enactment.
The Reverend Joseph Lowery, a co-founder of the Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference, says the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the single most significant piece of legislation in the century.
Lowery said when Martin Luther King Junior died, there were only a few black elected officials around this nation. Lowery spoke on the steps of the state Capitol, saying the federal act is credited for opening the ballot box for black voters and launching the careers of black politicians.
Lowery urged Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, legislators and members of the Congress to support the expansion of the act, saying, "There's no way we're going to let them turn back the clock on the right to vote."