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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Floyd B. McKissick Sr., December 6, 1973. Interview A-0134. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Evaluating the Voting Rights Act

McKissick evaluates the impact of the Voting Rights Act, much of which lies in the need it created for white politicians to appeal to black voters. He thinks that civil rights legislation may have freed some whites to vocalize their more progressive beliefs.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Floyd B. McKissick Sr., December 6, 1973. Interview A-0134. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACK BASS:
How significant do you see the Voting Rights Act? In its effect on southern politics?
FLOYD MCKISSICK:
Well, I think it has had profound effect. I think that we've got more elective black officials now than we've ever had.
JACK BASS:
How about the effect on white politicians?
FLOYD MCKISSICK:
I think that it has changed white politicians to attempt to get those votes. And therefore their language changes. I think it has brought about a change, period. If a man has got a constituency of 50% black and 50% white and he's got to appeal to both of them, why he's got to develop a line of strategy that he couldn't develop if he was appealing to all whites.
JACK BASS:
Do you think it has resulted also in a general change of attitudes, or only in political strategy? On the part of white politician that is?
FLOYD MCKISSICK:
It would depend on the man. I think it has done some of both, but I think it would really depend on the man. But I think that most of them now realize that with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, many of them…the Civil Rights Act freed a lot of white people too, to be able to openly say things they always wanted to say, or live by their philosophical beliefs. I think it freed a lot of white people, too.