August 6: The Voting Rights Act
On this day, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Actof 1965. The 15th Amendment (1870) had stated that citizens could not be prohibited from voting on account of race, but until the Voting Rights Act, states often found loopholes with Jim Crow laws like literacy tests to stop minorities from voting. The attack on peaceful marchers by state troopers in Selma, Alabama in March, 1965, caused a public outcry and increased support for a voting rights act. The President recognized that additional legislation was necessary to obligate states to ensure voting rights regardless of race.