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City Wards and Jacksonian Democracy

City Wards and Jacksonian Democracy

Chapter:
(p.171) 8 City Wards and Jacksonian Democracy
Source:
After Freedom Summer
Author(s):
Chris Danielson
Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813037387.003.0009

This chapter deals with the efforts by civil rights activists to undo at-large elections and the city commission form of government in Jackson, Mississippi, the state's capital and largest city. While some white politicians and reformers supported adopting a ward system, white voters kept the at-large system that inhibited black electoral power. Like county redistricting, the initial efforts of the black civil rights activists to undo the system were stymied by the inability to prove racist intent on the part of the city. The strengthened Voting Rights Act of 1982 changed those circumstances and led to the adoption of a ward system of government which brought about the election of the first blacks and women to the city government in the twentieth century.

Keywords:   Wards, at-large elections, commissions, city government, Voting Rights Act

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