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Public Statements

CBC Hour - Voter Suppression Laws

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. AL GREEN of Texas. Thank you, Representative Fudge. And thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Friends, although the faces change, the fight remains the same when it comes to the black vote. The Emancipation Proclamation didn't do it. The 13th Amendment didn't do it.

Although the faces change, the fight remains the same. In 1870, the face was that of President Ulysses S. Grant, and the fight was the 15th Amendment and the right to vote. It passed. Although it passed, the faces changed but the fight remained the same because in 1944 it was the NAACP and a great lawyer, Thurgood Marshall, that took Smith v. Allwright to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, and they won that case, which eliminated the white primaries in the State of Texas, by the way, in Harris County.

The faces changed but the fight remained the same because it was in 1953 that the NAACP had to go back to court to eliminate the white pre-primaries imposed by the Jaybirds in the State of Texas.

The faces changed but the fight remained the same, because even though we eliminated the white primaries, the white pre-primaries, in 1965 the faces were those of the marchers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on what we now know as Bloody Sunday. They were beaten back to the church where they started the actual march. The faces of those marchers happen to include the Honorable John Lewis, Member of Congress.

In 1965, the face was that of LBJ, President of the United States of America. He had the opportunity and did sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The faces changed, but the fight was still the same. We had to have a Voting Rights Act, notwithstanding all of the amendments to the Constitution, and notwithstanding Smith v. Allwright and Terry v. Adams.

In 2006, the faces changed. George Bush, President of the United States of America, reauthorizes the Voting Rights Act because we still find that there are cases of invidious discrimination when it comes to voting in the United States of America.

The faces changed, but in 2011 the fight remains the same. The faces are those of the 25 percent of African Americans who don't have photo IDs, the faces of the 18 percent of elderly persons 65 or older who don't have photo IDs.

The faces have changed consistently, but the fight is still the same. We still have to fight for this precious right to vote; and this is why we're here tonight, to make sure that we all understand, and the message goes out and the clarion call is there to those who would help us and make sure that on election day we protect the right to vote.

Notwithstanding the fact that the faces have changed, the fight remains the same.


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