From slavery to the white backlash of the 1990s, A Voting Rights Odyssey is a riveting account of the crusade for equal voting rights in Georgia. Written by a veteran civil rights lawyer the book draws upon expert reports and other court records, as well as trial testimony and interviews with the men and women who served as plaintiffs and witnesses in litigation that helped forge a revolution in voting rights. The book explores, and repudiates, the myths of the Reconstruction era that blacks were incapable of voting and holding office. It also catalogues the attempts of the state leadership to maintain white supremacy after the abolition of the white primary, the demands of the Civil Rights Movement, and passage of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965. A must read for anyone interested in the way in which race has driven and distorted the political process in the South.
1. The voting rights act of 1965: a great divide; 2. After the civil war: recreating 'the white man's Georgia'; 3. The dawning of a new day: abolition of the white primary; 4. Passage of the civil rights act of 1957: the white response; 5. One person, one vote: the end of the county unit system and the malapportioned legislature and congressional delegation; 6. The election code of 1964: twilight of the county unit legislature; 7. The voting rights scene outside the golden dome; 8. The voting rights act: how it works; 9. Increased black registration: the white response; 10. 1970 extension of the voting rights act: more white resistance; 11. The 1975 extension of the voting rights act: the private enforcement campaign; 12. Redistricting in the 1980s; 13. 1982: voting rights in the balance; 14. Continued enforcement of the voting rights act; 15. The demise of Georgia's nineteenth-century voter registration system: taking stock of the impact of the voting rights act; 16. Recreating the past: the challenge to the majority vote requirement; 17. The white backlash: redistricting in the 1990s; 18. Keysville, Georgia - a voting rights crusade.