cover image The Voting Rights War: The NAACP on the Ongoing Struggle for Justice

The Voting Rights War: The NAACP on the Ongoing Struggle for Justice

Gloria J. Browne-Marshall. Rowman & Littlefield, $36 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4422-6689-6

Browne-Marshall (Race, Law, and American Society), an associate constitutional law professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, delivers a passionate, comprehensive history of the NAACP and its crucial role in the still ongoing battle for voting rights. Founded in response to the Springfield (Ill.) Riot of 1908 and initially led by white liberals, the NAACP, as Browne-Marshall shows, focused on voter rights from the start. She highlights how the NAACP’s involvement in nearly every voting rights case argued before the Supreme Court speaks to its effective tripartite strategy of “litigation, legislation, and protest.” With considerable insight, Browne-Marshall guides readers through a century of pivotal legal struggles: 1896’s Plessy v. Ferguson; poll taxes and literacy tests; whites-only primaries; the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965; and the present-day photo ID laws, voter dilution efforts, and gutting of certain voter protections in the 2013 Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder decision. She also shows the Supreme Court’s changing makeup through the decades and resurrects the people—Moorfield Storey, Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall, Mary White Ovington—who struggled on the NAACP’s behalf. With vivid descriptions of voter intimidation, murders, riots, and lynchings, this work emphasizes that “freedom is not free.” [em](Oct.) [/em]