As the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act approaches on Thursday, Marione Ingram says we’re backtracking as a country.
“They’re disenfranchising the poor, the elderly, blacks, Latinos, students,” she says of voter identification laws and the Supreme Court’s continued refusal to hear challenges to such restrictions. “This is, of course, how Hitler came to power, by disenfranchising voters.”
Perhaps a tad hyperbolic, she admits, but the 79-year-old D.C.-based artist and activist is in a particular position to be sensitive. A Holocaust survivor who escaped imprisonment and survived one of the worst firebombings of World War II that killed more than 42,000 civilians in Hamburg, Ingram immigrated to the United States just a few weeks shy of her 17th birthday in 1952.
A believer in “the American myth of the land of opportunity,” she says she was shocked to find a country deeply mired in racism. Identifying with the oppressed, Ingram threw herself into the civil rights movement to protest discrimination.