Interview with Lawrence Guyot
QUESTION 45
INTERVIEWER:

CUT. WHY WAS THE CONGRESSIONAL CHALLENGE MORE, MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN THE, UH, CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE CHALLENGE?

Lawrence Guyot:

To me, if we look at history, despite my personal involvement, they were both a—astronomically successful. The convention challenge to Atlantic City changed the entire party apparatus as it related to allowing black people in. No other group did that. No other group could have done that. We did it. So that, to me, in pragmatic politics, that's success. The congressional challenge succeeded because it forced the congress to take the least, al—the least radical of two, I think, plausible and logical alternatives. They could have unseated the Mississippi delegation, but once they did that they would have to unseat the Texas delegation, the Louisiana delegation, the Alabama delegation. They didn't want to do that. We were right on our constitutional argument and I am very proud that congress—that, that Arthur Kinoy and William Kuntsler did such an excellent job on the challenge. But, as a result of that challenge, the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed. As a result of the 1965 Voting Rights Act being passed, 3,000,000 black people in the state of Mississ—in the, in the South are now registered to vote that weren't registered to vote. Mississippi now has more black elected officials than any other state. And when we win the Connor reapportionment case, it will have more state legislators than any other state.

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

Why did you say that the Voting Rights Act was passed because of it?

Lawrence Guyot:

Yeah.

CAMERA CREW MEMBER:

OK, FINE.