Marchers Reenact Historic 1965 March

Khalid Naji | 3/13/2012, 9:30 p.m.

When Johnson, signed the law it was created to end discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the United States; however, instead of wiping out those discriminatory practices new practices were created like poll taxes and literacy tests.

Fast forward to the present. According to the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Urban League, 34 states in the past 12 to 18 months have introduced voter suppression measures and legislation that would require a government-issued photo ID, shorter voting hours, a curtailment of early voting, and/or the imposition of penalties limiting the registration process is pending in 27 states. Overall, efforts to suppress voter turnout now include: photo ID requirements; proof of citizenship requirements for registration; reducing the number of days for early voting; restrictions on third-party voter registration activities; limiting the opportunity to make an address change at the polls on election day; systematic purges of registered voters; challenges to student voters as non-residents; unfounded allegations of voter fraud; and moving or closing precincts in minority communities.

As the presidential election looms nearer the issues of voter rights become more important in the African American community, Sharpton said. As thousands left Montgomery on Friday, March 9, they left with one message: Respect your vote and continue to fight for it.