Episode 1: A Moral Issue

October 12, 2023

About This Episode

Black Americans, particularly in the South, were denied their right to vote, with poll taxes, voter id laws, literacy tests, intimidation, and mob violence. By 1963, the Kennedy administration was prepared to act to expand the access to the vote, though Kennedy himself would not live to see the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

This episode looks at where voting rights were in 1963, and at how the fight continues today as some states expand the franchise and others seek to restrict it, with interviews with Dr. Peniel Joseph the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values, and Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the University of Texas, Austin, and JaTaune Bosby Gilchrist, Executive Director of ACLU of Alabama.

View the transcript for this episode.

Related Material

Watch President Kennedy's June 11, 1963 Civil Rights Address.

Read about  Voting Rights in the Early 1960s: “Registering Who They Wanted To”.

Watch Historians Reflect on JFK's Civil Rights Address.

Learn about our guests: Dr. Peniel Joseph and JaTaune Bosby Gilchrist.


Hosts and Producers: Matt Porter and Jamie Richardson

Supervising Producer: Valerie Linson

Director of Marketing: Rick King

Podcast Art: Brian Kang

Music: Premium Beat by Shutterstock