Historians have long been engaged in telling the story of the struggle for the vote. In the wake of recent contested elections, the suppression of the vote has returned to the headlines, as awareness of the deep structural barriers to the ballot, particularly for poor, black, and Latino voters, has called attention to the historical roots of issues related to voting access.
Perhaps most notably, former state legislator Stacey Abrams's campaign for Georgia's gubernatorial race drew national attention after she narrowly lost to then-secretary of state Brian Kemp, who had removed hundreds of thousands of voters from the official rolls. After her loss, Abrams created Fair Fight, a multimillion-dollar initiative to combat voter suppression in twenty states.
At an annual conference of the Organization of American Historians, leading scholars Carol Anderson, Kevin M. Kruse, Heather Cox Richardson, and Heather Anne Thompson had a conversation with Abrams about the long history of voter suppression at the Library Company of Philadelphia. This book is a transcript of that extraordinary conversation, edited by Jim Downs.
Voter Suppression in U.S. Elections offers an enlightening, history-informed conversation about voter disenfranchisement in the United States. By gathering scholars and activists whose work has provided sharp analyses of this issue, we see how historians in general explore contentious topics and provide historical context for students and the broader public.
The book also includes a "top ten" selection of essays and articles by such writers as journalist Ari Berman, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Blight, and civil rights icon John Lewis.