Reflect: Key People, Connections and Discussion Questions

This page is about reflection.

You’ll find a list of some of the key people and organizations relevant to this section. You’ll also find a section called intersectionality to encourage thinking about how different issues are connected, and discussion questions to encourage deeper thinking. Take some time to answer the questions, look these people up and learn more about their stories.

The content on this site is not complete: there are countless numbers of people and so many stories — from small acts of defiance to major leadership positions — that didn’t get recorded or that don’t often make it into textbooks.

This website is meant to be grown and improved upon. We’ve included some of the heroes, but if you know people we are missing, let us know so we can include their stories too.

Key People

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • James Bevel
  • James Forman
  • Amelia Boynton
  • Bernard Lafayette
  • Colia Liddel Lafayette
  • Hosea Williams
  • Coretta Scott King
  • Malcolm X
  • Prathia Hall
  • Stokely Carmichael
  • Nicholas Katzenbach
  • Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Mike Mansfield
  • Everett Dirksen
  • Dallas County Voters League
  • Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
  • Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Intersectionality

The passage of the Voting Rights Act was instrumental in ensuring rights for people of all communities and identities.

Before the legislation, many states had the power to deliberately disenfranchise any person who wasn’t white and middle to upper-class. For African American, American Indian, Latinx and Asian American voters, the VRA meant that the federal government had written it into law that they couldn’t be oppressed by these aspects of their identities when it came to the voting booth.

However, despite the VRA, many new barriers to voting exist for these communities and other marginalized communities today. Consider why this is the case, and how a person’s intersecting identities can be affected by restrictive policies and barriers, even if they aren’t explicitly labeled as such.

Layers of oppression that are rooted in historical discriminatory practices and structures like those prior to the VRA still exist, and place varying degrees of barriers to voting upon communities.

Discussion Questions: 
President Johnson finally took action after the country saw what happened to peaceful protesters on Bloody Sunday via the news. What do you think is the power of mass media? How do you think that’s changed with social media? In what ways do you see that today?
Why was the Voting Rights Act of 1965 important?
What are consequences of the Supreme Court ruling in the Shelby County v. Holder case? Have any voting rights laws changed as a result of the decision?
What forms of protest do think are effective for advocating for voting rights? For other rights? What types of protest do you see taking place today? How does voting fit into those movements?