After the Civil War, newly freed slaves hoped to gam the full benefits of American citizenship. In 1870, ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment led African Americans to believe that they had attailled the cherished right of suffrage. Nearly a century elapsed, however, before the proffered right became a reality. The VotingRightsActof1965 fulfilled the promise of the Fifteenth Amendment. The long road between 1870 and 1965, however, was littered with the carcasses of attempted disfranchising schemes. The states of the Deep South were not alone in their efforts to prevent enforcement of the Fifteenth Amendment or in their refusal to surrender gracefully to the commands of the 1965 Act. Kentucky legislators and citizens reacted with hostility to the presence of African Americans in political life. Although the sanctions of the Voting Rights Act did not apply to the border state of Kentucky, they nevertheless had a measurable effect on black electoral participation and representation in the state. By examining the history of black enfranchisement and racial conflict in Louisville, which has Kentucky's largest black population, one can understand fully the impact on Kentucky of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Dr. Patricia Minter
Guiling, Gail Joyce, "Black Enfranchisement in Kentucky: The Impact of the Voting Rights Act of 1965" (1999). Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 209.