Long Struggle over Voting Rights Ahead

By Gloria J. Browne-Marshall Contributing Writer | 7/12/2013, 3:46 p.m.
On his long march for voting rights, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “the arc of the moral universe is ...
Disappointed civil rights groups had hoped Justice Anthony Kennedy would support legal protections for African-Americans as well as gay marriage.

Blood was shed to gain voting rights. When the Court rejected the formula by which States had to prove their vot- ing laws were fair, it wiped away that bloodline. Gone is the memory of voting rights volunteer Viola Liuzzo, who was killed in Alabama, and the recollection of three college students killed in Mississippi for trying to register Black voters.

Erased are the sacrifices of Harry and Harriette Moore, pioneering NAACP organizers, killed in their Florida home on Christmas Day.

Gone is the memory of the ‘four little Black girls’, killed in their Alabama Church. Obscured is the legacy of voting rights advocate Medgar Evers, who was shot down in front of his wife and children. Gone is the image of Vivian Malone defying George Wallace’s tirade of “segregation now, segregation forever” when she integrated the University of Alabama.

Much has changed for both African-Americans and gays since 1996, when DOMA first defined marriage. There are now three female justices including a Latina on the Court. An African-American Attorney General, Eric Holder, is married to the sister of Vivian Malone.

Openly gay politicians, academics, journalists, actors join gay members of Wall Street and Main Street.

But, America is no racial utopia, given her racially motivated murders, voter suppression tactics, stop and frisk abuses, and discriminatory lending cases.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, age 80 and frail, quoted Dr. King at that end of her Voting Rights dissent statement. She said, ‘the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice” then she added ‘if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion, that commit- ment has been disserved by today’s decision.”

That arc of the moral universe still bends toward justice for all, but not far enough today.