Louisiana Libraries to Host Reading and Discussion Series on Voting Rights History

LEH-developed program will be hosted by ten libraries across the state

New Orleans, Louisiana / Feb. 18, 2021 — The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities has launched “Who Gets to Vote? Conversations on Voting Rights in America,” a new book club program focused on fostering conversations about the history of voting—and efforts to suppress the vote—in the United States. The program will take place at 10 libraries across Louisiana throughout the spring.

“Who Gets to Vote” is a turnkey program developed by the LEH for implementation at host sites and is part of the nationwide initiative “Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation,” administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. All book club sessions will be led by subject specialists and held virtually or, should public health conditions allow, in person.

The books included as part of the series are:

  • “The Embattled Vote in America: From the Founding to the Present” by Allan J. Lichtman (Harvard University Press, 2018)
  • “The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848–1898” by Lisa Tetrault (University of North Carolina Press, 2017)
  • “Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All” by Martha S. Jones (Basic Books, 2020)
  • “Bending Toward Justice: The Voting Rights Act and the Transformation of American Democracy” by Gary May (Basic Books, 2013)
  • “One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy” by Carol Anderson (Bloomsbury, 2018)
  • “Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy” by Jeff Manza and Christopher Uggen (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Sessions are intended to spark dialogue around issues and themes supported by the texts, such as the expansion of voting rights since the country’s founding; the electoral process; the women’s suffrage movement; historic and contemporary voter suppression practices; the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 2013 Supreme Court decision that invalidated key portions of the act; the disenfranchisement of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Americans; and more.

Each host site received a $2,700 programming grant to cover site coordination, facilitator honoraria, book purchases and publicity, and the sites select four of the six designated series books for their program. Using reading and discussion guides developed by the LEH and targeting up to 20 participants per session, session facilitators and participants will engage in thoughtful dialogue around book themes and consider the intersections between history and the present.

Participating Libraries

Ascension Parish Library, Gonzales Branch

Tuesdays, March 9–30


Bossier Parish Libraries History Center

Tuesdays, March 2–23


Jefferson Davis Parish Library, Welsh Branch

Thursdays, March 4–25


New Orleans Public Library, City Archives, Main Library

Saturdays, March 13–April 3


Rapides Parish Library, Martin Luther King Branch

Tuesdays, March 16–April 13


St. Tammany Parish Library 

Mondays, Feb. 22–April 9


Terrebonne Parish Main Library

Mondays, March 8–29


University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Edith Dupré Library

Wednesdays, March 10–31


Vermilion Parish Library, Abbeville Branch

Mondays, Feb. 8–March 1


West Baton Rouge Parish Library

Wednesdays, Feb. 24–April 7



About Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all residents of the state. Guided by the vision that everyone can realize their full potential through the humanities, LEH partners with communities, institutions and individuals to provide grant-supported outreach programs, literacy initiatives for all ages, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, public lectures, library projects, 64 Parishes magazine and other diverse public humanities programming. For more information, visit www.leh.org.


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