Though local power had long existed in the hundreds of southern towns and cities that saw organized civil rights action, the VEP was vital to converting that power into political motion. Evan Faulkenbury offers a much-needed explanation of how philanthropic foundations, outside funding, and tax policy shaped the southern black freedom movement.
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This important contribution focuses on a neglected yet critical episode in the civil rights movement, explaining well how an unexpected alliance of politicians, philanthropists, and civil rights activists launched voter registration projects and achieved important victories despite segregationists in Congress and state and local governments.Olivier Zunz, University of Virginia
In this innovative study, Faulkenbury goes behind the scenes to elucidate the relationship between the civil rights movement and philanthropic foundations. An organizational history of the Voter Education Project and its funders, Poll Power demonstrates that as civil rights activists in countless communities across the South began to institutionalize their hard-won access to the ballot, their opponents answered with federal legislation that severely curtailed the chances of their success. This work is essential for understanding the intricacies of voter suppression efforts, both past and present.Katherine Mellen Charron, North Carolina State University