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LEH voting rights series set for March at Dupré Library

By UL Lafayette Office of Communications and Marketing

A Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities grant will enable Edith Garland Dupré Library to host a community book reading and virtual discussion series on voting rights in the United States.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s library is one of 10 across the state to secure an LEH grant for “Who Gets to Vote? Conversations on Voting Rights in America.”

“More than 159 million voters cast ballots in the 2020 presidential election,” said Susan Richard, UL Lafayette’s interim dean of University Libraries. “With deepening civic engagement comes the need to better appreciate how Americans have secured the right to vote and, in many instances, have struggled to retain it.

“This series of book readings and discussions does just that, and Dupré Library and the University are happy to bring this vital and timely event to our community,” she added.

“Who Gets to Vote?” is part of the “Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation” initiative administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

University supporters for the series include the Department of History, the College of Liberal Arts and the NAACP campus chapter. Invitees include UL Lafayette College Republicans and College Democrats. Community supporters include the Lafayette League of Women Voters and the Acadiana Center for the Arts.

About the Series

Beginning Wednesday, March 10, and continuing for the next three weeks, participants will discuss one of four books. The discussions will be held on Zoom from 6:30-8 p.m. UL Lafayette faculty members will act as facilitators.

  • March 10: The Embattled Vote in America: From the Founding to the Present by Allan J. Lichtman.
  • March 17: Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All by Martha S. Jones.
  • March 24: One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson.
  • March 31: Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy by Gary May.

Dr. Pearson Cross, a professor of political science, will facilitate the discussion on March 10 and 24. Dr. Theodore Foster, an assistant professor of history, will moderate on March 17 and 31.

Themes that will be discussed include the expansion of voting rights since the country’s founding; the electoral process; women’s suffrage; and historic and contemporary voter suppression practices.

Learn more about the books and find discussion guides here.

How to Participate

The LEH grant limits participation for each of the four discussions. Spots will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, though a waiting list will be available.

Participants can register here. They will receive a confirmation that includes instructions on how and where to receive a copy of the book. The LEH grant covers the books’ costs.

The Zoom link will be sent to participants one week before the discussion date.

For those who are unable to register but wish to participate, the University has increased access with a simulcast on Dupré Library’s YouTube channel. Acadiana Open Channel has agreed to televise the discussions and livestream them to its YouTube channel as well.

For More Information

Find more information about the series on Dupré Library’s website. A research guide prepared by library staff members is also available here.

Visit the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities site for an overview of the grant.

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