One needs only to pick up a newspaper or tune in to television and find challenges to who can and cannot vote in the United States. The Center for Lifelong Learning will offer a course by Paul Levy starting October 16th that will deal with “The Right to Vote: A History, Colonial America to the Present."  

The class will meet for four sessions from October 16th and continuing on  to October 23rd, October 30th and November 6th from 10:00 AM to 11:15 AM in Clubhouse 1. The fee to register for the class is $15.00; register with the E&R office. Each session will be a mixture of brief lecture and lots of discussion.  There will be handouts and Paul may ask that participants do some reading (about 30 minutes) prior to classes.  

Paul Levy is a popular instructor for the Center of Lifelong Learning here in Leisure World. He holds three degrees from the University of Massachusetts  in Amherst and has spent 41 years in education as a teacher and school administrator in public and independent schools at the secondary and college levels.  Paul’s undergraduate degree was in political science and that has remained his principle focus throughout his teaching career. 

Several months ago it dawned on him that the nation was approaching the 100th anniversary of Woman Suffrage. Congress approved the 19th Amendment in 1919 and in 1920 it was ratified by 3/4ths of state legislatures. He felt that doing a course on this momentous event would be an appropriate commemoration.  The more he thought about this, he was led to the notion that suffrage had to be put in context with our history of voting rights.   

The first class will examine voting rights in colonial America with a comparative focus on Virginia and Massachusetts.  Who had the franchise, why, and what might be the lasting legacy of this are questions we will discuss.  The second class will be an examination of the 15th Amendment, commonly referred to as the Black Suffrage amendment.  The class will look at how it came to be written and passed, and especially at why it was largely unenforced.  The third class will be a review of the Woman Suffrage movement, some of the known and little known suffragists, and how and why the 19th Amendment came to be passed.  Finally, the fourth class will look at the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision, and questions of present day attempts at voter suppression.  

             If you plan to attend, don’t hesitate to register. There will be a limit of on the number of attendees.