Oct. 20, 2005 • Volume 14 Number 4

Oct. 29 Symposium to Assess Impact of Voting Rights Act

Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning chronicler of the 1960s civil rights movement, will join one of its most prominent figures, US Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), and other distinguished authors, journalists, commentators and activists at a symposium marking the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to be held Oct. 29 in Robsham Theater.

"Retracing the Struggle: The Legacy of the Voting Rights Act of 1965," which takes place from 12:30-5 p.m., is presented by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and is free and open to the public.

The symposium will consist of three panel discussions, beginning at 12:45 p.m. with "From Civil Rights to Voting Rights: The History," moderated by Atlantic Monthly national correspondent James Fallows. Joining Branch on the panel will be former US Senator and Peace Corps co-founder Harris Wofford and Harvard University Kennedy School of Government faculty member Alexander Keyssar, author of The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States.

Prof. Alan Wolfe (Political Science), director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, will moderate the second panel, "The Social and Political Impact of the Voting Rights Act." The speakers are: Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Executive Director Wade Henderson; Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Abigail Thernstrom, a vice-chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights; and Columbia Law School Professor Patricia Williams, author of The Alchemy of Race and Rights: A Diary of a Law Professor.

Moderating the final discussion, "Voting Rights and Electoral Politics Today," will be Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker. Lewis will be part of a panel that includes Roger Clegg, vice president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, and Kevin Peterson, executive director for the New Democracy Coalition in Boston.

For details on registration and other information, see or call ext.2-4820. -Sean Smith

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