(The Root) -- When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law in August 1965, he described the law as a "triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on any battlefield."
The announcement came with plans to analyze voter-registration rolls, identify communities with the largest numbers of eligible but unregistered voters and dispatch federal employees to rectify the situation. Critics complained that the law represented a federal infringement on activities inside states and said that Johnson's language amounted to a peremptory threat to Southern states. In much of the South, a combination of legally required poll taxes and literacy tests for minority voters worked in combination with violence, threats and various forms of intimidation that effectively made it difficult, if not impossible, for many blacks and Hispanics to vote.
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