Creating Language Minorities: The Voting Rights Act of 1975

After considering the historical discrimination faced by groups beyond African Americans, Congress chose to recognize Spanish speakers for the first time by name in a national law, the Voting Rights Act of 1975, an extension to the famous 1965 act.

Lecture Description

In 1975, Congress passed a seven-year extension to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In addition to continuing to support the rights of African Americans, especially in the South, to vote and permanently outlawing literacy tests, the 1975 act legislated translations for language minorities. Congress defined language minorities to be Spanish speakers, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Alaska Natives. This talk goes through how Congress made the move from a Black/White law to supporting a broader swatch of the voting public, which included considering how to include Spanish speakers without labeling them as a race.


Elections, Electoral College, Voting Rights Race

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