Most of the civil rights icons whose names we’ve come to know and recognize over the years of Black History Months were fighting to make sure those who came afterward were able to enjoy privileges that have taken decades to turn into a reality. That includes voting, something that still stymies a good number of Black people through efforts to suppress those rights.
Well, the torch that was lit by the likes of Fannie Lou Hamer, Thurgood Marshall, John Lewis and, of course, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has been passed — is in very good and capable hands moving deeper into the 21st century. As such, here are five modern-day voting rights heroes everyone should know as Election Day 2020 rapidly approaches.
Arekia Bennett, executive director of Mississippi Votes
Bennett runs a nonprofit organization that is devoted to registering “as many Mississippians to vote” as possible ahead of the 2020 election. It has hundreds of volunteers and chapters on multiple college campuses in Mississippi.
“There is a power that transcends our ages,” Bennett once told the New York Times. “We want to dive deep into the veteran stories and learn the lessons of that summer so we can shift the narrative, make our own changes in Mississippi.”
Johnson has been leading the nation’s oldest civil rights organization since 2017. In recent months he testified before Congress about the evidence of voting discrimination he has witnessed.
“Voter suppression has played a huge role in silencing the political voices of the African American community and all people of color historically and during the 2018 midterm election season,” Johnson said at the time. “The NAACP is determined to shape a culture of voting and reach people who don’t vote regularly, especially those who believe their votes don’t matter.”
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
When Clarke isn’t busy fighting Confederate sympathizers or going after white supremacist groups, she’s out making sure there are fair voting rights for everybody. She’s an alumna of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and she “worked on cases defending the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act and also testified before Congress and state legislatures,” her Lawyers Committee bio said.
LaTosha Brown, Black Voters Matter Fund co-founder
Brown, who was recently named as a Harvard Fellow, co-founded the Black Voters Matter Fund, a crucial political machine that focuses on getting Black people registered to vote as well as policy and organizing, because of such low turnout of Black voters in the 2016 presidential election.
Stacey Abrams, Fair Fight founder and chair
Abrams, who rose to national political fame after her candidacy for Georgia governor fell short in the 2018 midterm elections, has carved out a post-politics career in voting rights activism. Specifically, she founded and chairs her Fair Fight organization after being on the wrong end of aggressive and partisan voter suppression. As a result, Fair Fight was started to encourage people to vote as well as to make voters aware of their rights at the polls.
Vintage Photos Of Black History Being Made In America
1. Harriet TubmanSource:Getty 1 of 40
2. Martin Luther King and civil rights leadersSource:Getty 2 of 40
3. Black PanthersSource:Getty 3 of 40
4. Tuskeegee AirmenSource:Getty 4 of 40
5. Books Are Weapons PosterSource:Getty 5 of 40
6. World War II 93rd InfantrySource:Getty 6 of 40
7. Rosa ParksSource:Getty 7 of 40
8. Integrated Classroom in North CarolinaSource:Getty 8 of 40
9. African American Students Enter High School with Military EscortSource:Getty 9 of 40
10. Lunchcounter Protest in VirginiaSource:Getty 10 of 40
11. Harry Belafonte Leads Civil Rights RallySource:Getty 11 of 40
12. Malcolm X's FuneralSource:Getty 12 of 40
13. Martin Luther King's FuneralSource:Getty 13 of 40
14. Lynching Victim Hanging Above CrowdSource:Getty 14 of 40
15. W.E.B. DuBoisSource:Getty 15 of 40
16. Booker T. WashingtonSource:Getty 16 of 40
17. The 369th, 15th New York who won the Croix de Guerre for GallantrySource:Getty 17 of 40
18. Mutilated Corpse of Claude NealSource:Getty 18 of 40
19. Segregated FountainSource:Getty 19 of 40
20. Womens Defense Corp of AmericaSource:Getty 20 of 40
21. Crowd Waiting to Enter Supreme CourtSource:Getty 21 of 40
22. Black Students Integrate Little Rock's Central High SchoolSource:Getty 22 of 40
23. Troops Watch as Black Students Go to SchoolSource:Getty 23 of 40
24. Segregated RestroomsSource:Getty 24 of 40
25. Portrait Of Medgar EversSource:Getty 25 of 40
26. Separate Waiting RoomSource:Getty 26 of 40
27. Race riots in Birmingham, Alabama.Source:Getty 27 of 40
28. A White Man Bars African-Americans From RestaurantSource:Getty 28 of 40
29. Myrlie Evers Speaking at MicrophoneSource:Getty 29 of 40
30. A Young MarcherSource:Getty 30 of 40
31. Civil Rights FightersSource:Getty 31 of 40
32. Elijah MuhammadSource:Getty 32 of 40
33. Anti Segregation In The Southern Stores March At Broadway In New YorkSource:Getty 33 of 40
34. Selma to Montgomery MarchSource:Getty 34 of 40
35. Selma to Montgomery MarchSource:Getty 35 of 40
36. Soldiers at Civil Rights ProtestSource:Getty 36 of 40
37. Luther King's FuneralSource:Getty 37 of 40
38. Coretta Scott KingSource:Getty 38 of 40
39. 'Kidnapped' Poster At Black Panther RallySource:Getty 39 of 40
40. 'Right On!' Black Power ButtonSource:Getty 40 of 40
Making Black History: 5 Modern-Day Voting Rights Heroes Everyone Should Know was originally published on newsone.com