By his own account the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was Lyndon Johnson’s greatest achievement – the jewel in the crown of the Great Society, and widely considered the most effective piece of civil rights legislation in American history. This episode focuses on the extraordinarily eventful eight-month period — January to August 1965 — when the battle for Voting Rights was joined and ultimately fought to a successful conclusion. The outcome was hard won, and in doubt up until the last frantic weeks of negotiation and maneuvering in the wake of the bloody protests in Selma, Alabama. We hear from historian Rhonda Y. Williams, the John L. Seigenthaler Chair in American History at Vanderbilt University, about the complex and precarious alliance forged between the President on the inside, and Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement on the outside.
Includes interview excerpts from Washington University Libraries, drawn from the Henry Hampton Collection. This digitized resource includes complete video interviews with Civil Rights Movement leaders, recorded for the influential and award-winning documentary film, Eyes on the Prize.
Learn more at LBJsGreatSociety.org.