1870—In one of the most brazenly racist incidents of the post-Civil War period, White conservatives and racists employ assassinations and widespread violence to suppress the Black vote and take control of the Tennessee legislative from a coalition of Blacks and progressive Whites. The violence and the election effectively ended Reconstruction in the state.
1941—Blacks started being inducted into the U.S. military around April of 1941 and one result was a series of violent incidents between Black soldiers and White soldiers and between Black soldiers and White civilians. The first major incident takes place on this day in August of 1941. A group of Black soldiers board a bus in Fayetteville, N.C., headed to Ft. Bragg. The White driver complains they are being “rowdy” and asks for help from Military Police (MPs). The MPs arrive and began hitting the Blacks with nightsticks. One of the Blacks grabs an MP’s gun and begins shooting. Additional fighting and shooting break out. When the dust settled, one Black private and one White MP were dead and two Whites and three Blacks had been wounded.
1965—President Lyndon Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act which was designed to guarantee the right of African-Americans to vote. The Act ended a wide range of discriminatory voting practices in the South including literacy tests. The Act was probably the most significant piece of civil rights legislation ever passed. It was renewed for another 25 years in July of 2006. It was weakened a bit by a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision but remains in effect.
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