Letter Opposing Voting Rights

Letter Opposing Voting Rights/tiles/non-collection/c/c_027imgtile1.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration


This letter from Charles Geiser was sent to the Honorable Emanuel Celler, a Representative from New York and the Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, in July 1965. Congress was considering various pieces of legislation relating to civil rights in 1965, including H.R. 6400. The measure, introduced by Representative Celler in March 1965, was designed to uphold the 15th Amendment giving Americans the right to vote regardless of race or color. The legislation also abolished the literacy test requirement that had been imposed by many jurisdictions as a way to deny African Americans the right to vote. It is apparent that Geiser is not a Celler constituent, when he asks: “Why do you advocate no literacy tests as a qualification for voting? Is your district so saturated with illiterates that you fear the loss of your seat in Congress at voting time?” The Voting Rights Act became law on August 6, 1965.

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