They called it Freedom Summer - 10 weeks in 1964 when more than 700 student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local activists in a historic effort to end the vestiges of racial oppression across the South, including what PBS described as "one of the nation's most viciously racist, segregated states."
In two decisions this term, the Supreme Court has changed the political landscape on voting rights. Reaction to the court's latest decision, in Shelby County v. Holder, ranged from outrage ("Supremes Gut Voting Rights Act" at Huffington Post) to just-the-facts-ma'am ("Supreme Court voids key part of Voting Rights Act because law uses data 'that does not reflect racial progress in U.S.'" at NYPost.com).
Is requiring proof of citizenship for voters a way to protect the integrity of elections? Or is it an illegal tactic that will keep many older Americans and minorities away from the polls?
One strange and sometimes troubling thing about American democracy is that a lot of us don't participate in it. According to a 2006 Pew Research Center study, about one in five adults aren't registered to vote, and another 23 percent are "registered but rare" voters, who hardly ever show up at the polls. It's as if we've forgotten that there were was a time, not that too long ago - 1964, to be exact - when three American heroes named Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner literally gave their lives to ensure that everyone had the right to vote.
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