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The Dream Is LostVoting Rights and the Politics of Race in Richmond, Virginia$
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Julian Maxwell Hayter

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813169484

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813169484.001.0001

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Systematically Done In

Systematically Done In

Black Electoral Empowerment, Vote Dilution, and the Push for Annexation after the Voting Rights Act

Chapter:
(p.63) 2 Systematically Done In
Source:
The Dream Is Lost
Author(s):

Julian Maxwell Hayter

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813169484.003.0003

By 1965, the VRA not only revolutionized electoral politics in the United States but also immediately gave rise to white resistance. This chapter describes the freedom struggle’s progression from protest to politics and how African Americans took their place in American city halls. By 1966, Richmond had elected three African Americans to the city council, including Henry Marsh III. As black Americans began to elect more than a handful of representatives and to contest the legacy of segregationist policies (e.g., slum clearance, expressway construction, police brutality), whites embarked on a Machiavellian campaign of vote dilution. In Richmond, they first tried to dilute blacks votes by staggering elections. The urban unrest of the late 1960s and the rise of Black Power heightened white anxiety about a black revolution. By 1968, the Crusade embraced not only the politics of black empowerment but also Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign. Richmond’s white officials met these challenges by annexing portions of a predominantly white suburb, Chesterfield County.

Keywords:   Voting Rights Act of 1965, Henry Marsh III, staggering elections, slum clearance, expressway construction, vote dilution, Black Power, urban unrest, Poor People’s Campaign, Chesterfield County annexation

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