The Supreme Court’s rejection this week of a central element of the 1965 Voting Rights Act took aim at a measure that not only broke down barriers to political participation in the South but also made significant contributions to the economic well-being of black southerners and to the region as a whole.
Some of the economic benefits were apparent almost immediately after enactment. Surveys reported more paved roads and streetlights in black residential areas, better access to city and county services, and increased black hiring in public- sector jobs, including police and fire departments.
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