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Part I of this essay begins one hundred years before the passage of the Act, with Reconstruction. I briefly canvas the interracial alliances of the Reconstruction and Redemption periods, underscoring that American democracy has been most responsive to the masses, including working class whites, when interracial alliances between whites and blacks commanded majority power. I then recount how a politics of white supremacy animated and perpetuated racial schisms between blacks and whites for a century in the South. Part II describes how the Act came to be passed, emphasizing the role of protest and coalition politics in its enactment, and the dramatic impact of the Act in fostering active participation by communities of color in American politics. Part III explores the opportunities and challenges presented by growing diversity of the electorate, underscoring the modem manifestations of historic racial divides in American politics. There is a continued, albeit less pronounced, strain of race loyalty in voting patterns that we have not yet vanquished.

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22 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71-105 (2006)