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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Civil rights activist to speak at UF on voting

Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) is the last surviving member of the Big Six civil rights activists.

Tonight, Lewis will speak to UF students in the University Auditorium about the impact of the Voting Rights Act, which took away voting barriers for black Americans in 1965. This year marks the act’s 50th anniversary.

The talk, which will be held at 7 p.m., is hosted by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service and will be live-streamed on its website. Tickets are free and will be distributed at 5 p.m.

"We’ve wanted to have John Lewis here for quite some time," said Shelby Taylor, communications director for the Graham Center. "He’s kind of a last-living legend in the civil rights movement and the March on Washington."

UF exploratory freshman Livia Ledbetter said she will attend the talk because it’s important to learn about the history of the civil rights movement.

She said she thinks race relations have improved since the Voting Rights Act was established, but there’s still work to do.

"I think with the improvements we have made, it makes a lot of people think we’re done," the 18-year-old said. "We’re definitely not done."

A roundtable discussion will precede Lewis’ speech at 4 p.m.

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