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Andrew Young and the Voting Rights Act of 1965

Young is an advocate for democracy and boosting voting numbers.
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Young is an advocate for democracy and boosting voting numbers.

It has been 40 years since Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Blacks in the United States had been given the right to vote by the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870. But many counties imposed poll taxes, literacy tests and other obstacles for those who tried to cast a ballot.

Andrew Young helped draft the Voting Rights Act while he was an executive assistant to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. He went on to become a member of Congress, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and the mayor of Atlanta.

Young talks with Scott Simon about the fight to protect the right to vote for minorities and the current state of democracy in America.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.