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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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From Intent to Effect

From Intent to Effect

The Long Struggle for Voting Rights Litigation during the 1970s

(p.111) 3 From Intent to Effect
The Dream Is Lost

Julian Maxwell Hayter

University Press of Kentucky

Chapter 3 describes how local African Americans, with the help of the U.S. Congress, federal courts, and the U.S. Department of Justice, instigated the reapportionment revolution after 1965. This revolution carried the spirit of civil rights reform, the Great Society, and President Lyndon Johnson’s equality-of-results standard well into the 1970s. After the Supreme Court’s decision in Allen v. State Board of Elections (1969) to expand the implications of the VRA’s preclearance clause in section 5, antidilution litigation began to flood America’s court system. African American public-housing resident Curtis Holt Sr. and white suburbanites eventually sued to deannex Chesterfield County, but for very different reasons. The white residents of the annexed area saw annexation as a way to continue passive resistance to school integration. Holt’s suit led the Supreme Court to place what became a seven-year moratorium on city council elections. This suit not only plugged Richmond into the Burger Court’s campaign against vote dilution but also eventually culminated in the implementation of Richmond’s majority–minority district system. Local politics in Richmond had national implications. Litigation (e.g., City of Richmond v. United States [1975]), the Supreme Court, and the Department of Justice played a critical role in the monumental election of a black-majority council in Richmond in 1977.

Keywords:   reapportionment revolution, Great Society, equality of results, Curtis Holt Sr., passive resistance, preclearance, antidilution, Warren Burger, majority–minority districting, black–majority council

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