Voting Rights Act: 45 years later
As the Georgia gets ready to vote for runoff elections on Tuesday, an important milestone in voting rights was commemorated Friday in Albany.
About a dozen people gathered outside the Government Center to talk about what they call "one of the most important pieces of legislation in U.S. history."
The Albany-Dougherty NAACP organized today's meeting. They say the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is still relevant today.
"45-years ago President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965," said Albany-Dougherty NAACP president William Wright. "Young people who are 18 years of age or older who are allowed to vote, they can only vote because the 1965 Voting Rights Act made that possible."
That law forced states to remove restrictions, like literacy tests and poll taxes on eligible voters.
"The Voting Rights act indeed helped gain civil rights not just for people of color but all Americans," said Wright.
Albany has a rich history in civil rights movement. Shiloh Baptist Church is known as ground zero in the Albany Movement and was often the place where activists would meet to organize their demonstrations.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to town to help organize and march only, to be arrested on more than one occasion.
And while 45 years may seem like a long time, there are still many people who remember those days of segregation very clearly.
"We had to go to black bathrooms. It was black on one side white on one side. Everything was different, white had theirs and we had ours," said Eunice Bankston.