How to Unleash Democracy in the Black Belt

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The 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer was a pivotal moment for democracy in America. Yet 50 years later, despite many gains at the local level, the dream of Freedom Summer remains largely unrealized in the stretch of heavily black southern states known as the Black Belt. There are a number of significant and troubling signs:

  • Large numbers of black voters and voters of color remain unregistered.
  • New waves of voter suppression laws are being passed, and they have taken a form not seen since the rise of Jim Crow laws.
  • The general wisdom in many Black Belt states remains that when it comes to winning statewide office, candidates who support the views and concerns of people of color simply do not have a chance.

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