Bob Moses Urges DNC to Call for Voting Rights as Constitutional Rights


Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee veteran and Algebra Project founder Bob Moses was invited to speak at the 2016 Democratic Party platform hearing on June 18, 2016 about voting rights. He delivered testimony on behalf of the SNCC Legacy Project.

The SNCC Legacy Project statement provides historical context and calls for a Constitutional amendment prohibiting infringement of full voting rights. View the full testimony on the video clip below. Moses is introduced by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland). Following the testimony, Moses responds to questions from Cummings, Cornel West, and others.

Here is an excerpt from the testimony:

Black youth dropped the curtain on this second Constitutional Era; they initiated and sustained the Sit-In Movement, took it across Alabama and into Mississippi with Freedom Rides, then settled via SNCC across Mississippi and the black belt to organize an earned insurgency for the right to vote. They acted as Constitutional People, citizens of the nation, in defiance of the Supreme Court’s Confederate Narrative and its idea that their human rights depended on something as shaky as the laws of the Confederate States. A notion as absurd as slavery itself. They enacted a People’s Narrative, a story involving guarantees of national citizenship and national protection of citizens’ rights.

In this, our third constitutional era, our questions remain:

Who are the constitutional people?

What does it mean to be a constitutional person in the United States of America?

While those who fought for the Reconstruction Amendments thought they were guaranteeing the right to vote to all citizens, those rights have been deeply undermined by, among others, this Democratic Party.

Read the full statement on the website here.


Related Resources

One Person, One Vote website. Historical materials, profiles, timeline, map, and stories on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s (SNCC) voting rights organizing.

Lessons, books, and films from our Zinn Education Project website for teaching about the:

history of the U.S. Constitution

modern Civil Rights Movement