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James J. Kilpatrick Discusses the 1965 Voting Rights Act
(WSLS Television, Roanoke, VA)

James J. Kilpatrick, conservative editor of the Richmond News Leader and fervent segregationist, was interviewed before a debate with Roy Wilkins at the Virginia Tech YMCA entitled Conflict in the Great Society. Kilpatrick discussed the illegitimacy and flaws of the 1965 Voting Rights Act which he deemed "completely unconstitutional." Specifically, Kilpatrick believed the Act had "trespassed upon the power of the state to fix qualifications for the franchise." He viewed the Voting Rights Act as inconsistent in its dealings with illiteracy and the vote. Kilpatrick's greatest concern, which he called "humiliating," mirrored Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black's dissent; each time a city wished to change the boundaries of a voting precinct, it had to get permission from Washington.
About the film
  • Date: March 31, 1966
  • Sound: Yes
  • Duration: 01:37
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