On Wednesday (April 14), President Joe Biden said some parts of the US are “backsliding into the days of Jim Crow” with their voting restriction laws, comparing them to poll taxes and literacy tests many states instituted to restrict Black Americans’ access to the ballot.
“The cry for justice 400 years in the making is ringing out across our nation,” Biden said during the National Action Network virtual convention.
“Parts of our country are backsliding into the days of Jim Crow, passing laws that harken back to the era of poll taxes –– when Black people were made to guess how many beans, how many jelly beans, in a jar or count the number of bubbles in a bar of soap before they could cast their ballot,” he said.
Biden called Georgia’s controversial election law “Jim Crow in the 21st Century” after Gov. Brian Kemp signed it last month.
Advocates have decried the legislation, stating that Black, Latino, and low income voters would be adversely impacted by the law compared to other groups. Hundreds of similar measures have been introduced in at least 47 state legislatures following record voter turnout and the months-long baseless claims of voter fraud from former president Donald Trump.
Under Georgia’s law, voters will be required to go through additional identification requirements, and have decreased access to voting by mail.
During his remarks, Biden addressed ongoing racial injustice in the nation following the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright by a Brooklyn Center police officer. He also underlined the disproportionate impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on Black people in America, as the nation looks to expand vaccination efforts.
“We have so much work to do on criminal justice to police reform to addressing health disparities and voting rights,” he said.
Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan set aside fundings for rental assistance, vaccine outreach, and other measures to support Black Americans.
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