50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act
Oakland County, MichiganBoard of Commissioners50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act


On August 13, 2015, Commissioners Nancy L. Quarles, Janet Jackson and David E. S. Bowman, along with the entire Board, honored and celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.  Commissioner Quarles led a special presentation during the Board meeting.  The commemoration also highlighted other historical milestones, including the 150th Anniversary of the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment that ended the institution of slavery in the United States, and the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March.

Elected officials and members of the public spoke and reflected on the importance of the Voting Rights Act legislation during public comment.  A special reception and viewing of President Lyndon B. Johnson's 1965 Voting Rights Act speech was held in the atrium of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners' Auditorium.  The Voting Rights Act was signed by President Johnson on August 6, 1965 and changed discriminatory election processes, such as Jim Crow Laws, which served as barriers to black Americans constitutional right to vote.  The Voting Rights Act, an amendment to the original 15th Amendment granting African Americans the right to vote, promised that the right of American citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged “on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”  Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the number of African American elected officials in this country has risen dramatically, from less than 1,500 in 1970 to more than 10,000 by 2011.


Commissioner Nancy L. Quarles presents the commemorative proclamation.

Pictured from left to right (back): Yolanda Charles, Vice-President of the Southfield Public School Board; Commissioner Emeritus Mattie McKinney Hatchett; Commissioner Janet Jackson; Dr. Darrell B. Joyce, Sr., Southfield Board of Education; Jessica Thomas, Birmingham Board of Education; and Michael Bridges, Farmington Hills City Council.

Pictured from left to right (front): Judge Christopher Brown; Rosie Lance-Richardson, Chairperson of the Pontiac Public Library Board of Trustees; Carol Turpin, Pontiac Board of Education; Toni Whitley, Auburn Hills Library; Commissioner David E. S. Bowman; State Representative (and former Commissioner) Hubert Price; Commissioner Nancy L. Quarles; Commissioner Michael J. Gingell, Board Chairman; Sylvia Jordan, President of the Southfield Ciy Council; Kelly Garrett, Mayor Pro tem of Lathrup Village; and Sheilah Clay, Farmington Board of Education.

Oakland County Commissioners and other current and former elected officials attend the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act Commemoration, which was sponsored by the Board and held outside the Commissioners' Auditorium on Thursday, August 13th.

Pictured left to right (back): Commissioner Thomas F. Middleton; Commissioner Gary R. McGillivray; Dr. Darrell B. Joyce, Sr., Southfield Board of Education; Commissioner Dave Woodward; Commissioner Wade Fleming; Timm Smith; Pam Gerald; Commissioner Robert Gosselin; Mr. Gerald; Commissioner Philip J. Weipert; Commissioner Helaine Zack; and Commissioner Bill Dwyer.

Pictured left to right (front): Commissioner Shelley G. Taub; Bill Maxey; Commissioner Bob Hoffman; Maria Howard Smith; Commissioner David E. S. Bowman; Commissioner Eileen Kowall; and Commissioner Marcia Gershenson.


DSCN5399.jpgOakland County and Pontiac resident Nenner Buckhaulter, a native of Mississippi, spoke of her experience of being denied the right to vote due to the poll tax requirement in Mississippi.


Pictured left to right: Oakland County Board Chairman, Michael J. Gingell; Commissioner Janet Jackson; Dianthia Kimble (daughter of the first African American Oakland County Commissioner Jim Matthews, who was elected in 1968 to serve on the newly formed Oakland County Board of Commissioners in 1969; Commissioner Nancy L. Quarles; and Commissioner David E. S. Bowman.

Ferndale School Board Treasurer and member Raylon Leaks-May with Commissioner Helaine Zack holding commemoration sign.

50th District Judge Cynthia Walker with Commissioner David E. S. Bowman at the special commemoration reception.

VRA Attendees.jpg

Attendees enjoy reception and view President Lyndon B. Johnson's Voting Rights Act address at the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act Commemoration, which was sponsored by the Board of Commissioners.