Statement on Voting Rights

Press Release
Saturday, August 28, 2021

Statement on Voting Rights

Today, 58 years after the historic March on Washington, we thank and acknowledge thousands across the nation who are again marching for voting rights. The struggle for true freedom never ends and protecting the right to vote is tantamount to protecting freedom. The right to a voice in our nation, our government, in its representatives and actions, is a self-evident truth our nation was founded upon. To limit or constrain the right to vote sets our nation back decades to a time when “Black Codes” or “Black Laws” undermined our Constitution. To an era of Jim Crow, poll taxes and literacy tests. To an era when groups of Americans were denied a voice simply because of their skin color, sex or ethnicity. We must vigorously and continuously protect our voting rights to ensure our government and our laws serve all people.

The current John Lewis Voting Rights Act is essential and must be passed immediately. We must declare that every voice has value, every voice is heard.

John Lewis dedicated his life to giving all Americans a voice at the voting booth. He endured personal injury time and again, risking his life in the name of equality. Now, 60 years after his first Freedom Ride, 56 years after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge, we risk undoing all he and so many risked and gave their lives for.

We must not let this moment pass. We must lift every voice, make every vote count.

The rightly named John Lewis Voting Rights Act can not only honor his legacy but can secure the America of which he and Dr. King dreamed. We must secure voting rights so that, in the words of Langston Hughes, we can “let America be America again, the land that never has been yet.”

Woodrow Keown, Jr.

President & COO
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

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