By George Kevin Jordan, Special to the AFRO

Leaders from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund rallied together in front of the U.S. Capitol building late last week with a sea of advocates, activists and organizations to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, but also to push for ensuring equality and topush back against voter suppression.

“Brown versus Board of Education is a signature case most people associate with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president, director-counsel of the organization, during the rally. “The decision was a watershed moment. It banned segregation in our schools but also redefined equality.”

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund Celebrated 65 years since the landmark Supreme Court Case Brown v. Board of Education. (Courtesy Photo)

Ifill pointed out that the rally was also to call attention to the period three years after that court case’s win, activists were still protesting the slow enactment of the law. During his infamous “Give Us the Ballot,” address at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said:

“Three years ago the Supreme Court of this nation rendered in simple, eloquent and unequivocal language a decision which will long be stenciled on the mental sheets of succeeding generations. For all men of goodwill, this May 17 decision came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of human captivity. It came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of disinherited people throughout the world who had dared only to dream of freedom.

“Unfortunately, this noble and sublime decision has not gone without opposition. This opposition has often risen to ominous proportions. Many states have risen up in open defiance. The legislative halls of the South ring loud with such words as ‘interposition’ and ‘nullification.’

“Give us the ballot, and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights.”

Ifill spoke of the damage done with the dismantling of the {Voting Rights Act} and the widened spread of inequality in the U.S. saying, “Today we face voter suppression not just in the South, but all over this country.

“That’s why we need an amendment to the {Voting Rights Act,}” Iffil continued. She said the Legal Defense Fund was in support of Rep. Terri A. Sewell’s (D-AL-7) Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019.

The bill would amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by, “striking violations of the 14th or 15th Amendment and inserting violations of the 14th or 15th Amendment., violations of this Act, or violations of any Federal law that prohibits discrimination in voting on the basis of race, color or membership in a language minority group.”

Ifill read from the celebrated Civil Rights leader’s speech Like King, Ifill reminded supporters that, “we gather gather here today to show that we are not in despair. We’re fighters. We, those who fight for justice, have given this country its noblest moments and we will not go back.”

Other groups on hand to support the event were the NAACP, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human rights, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund to name a few.

For more information on the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund please go their website at: