Bending Toward Justice

The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy

By Gary May
(Basic Books, Hardcover, 9780465018468, 352pp.)

Publication Date: April 2013

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In theory, African Americans have enjoyed the right to vote since the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870. In reality, however, most eligible black citizens were kept from the polls for another hundred years. Until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, large numbers of African Americans—particularly in the Deep South—were disenfranchised through a combination of sheer terror and insidious devices such as literary tests, poll taxes, and property requirements. In Bending Toward Justice, celebrated historian Gary May describes how activists surmounted these long-standing obstacles, overcoming centuries of bigotry to secure—and preserve—the right of black citizens to full participation in American democracy.

A vivid narrative history of a landmark piece of civil rights legislation, Bending Toward Justice offers a dramatic account of the struggle that finally won African Americans the ballot.

About the Author

Gary May is a professor of history at the University of Delaware. Winner of the Allan Nevins Prize of the Society of American Historians and author of four books, including The Informant: The FBI, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Murder of Viola Lituzzo, May lives in Newark, Delaware.

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