After the Civil War, the U.S. Constitution was amended to state that no individual may be denied the right to vote based on race, color or previous condition of servitude. Yet some states continued to deny African Americans the right to vote well into the 20th century.
States used poll taxes, literacy tests and intimidation to suppress minority voting. Signed into law on August 6, 1965, the Voting Rights Act enforced the constitutional right to vote by prohibiting local laws that discriminated against minority voters. Voter registration among African Americans surged as a result.