Not there just yet…

NAACP Board of Directors Chair Roslyn Brock serves as MLK keynote speaker


NAACP Board of Directors Chair Roslyn Brock has been working with the organization for more than 30 years, beginning when she was only 19 years old.

Faith Pinho

Washington and Lee University students and Rockbridge community members were reminded last Sunday that Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for equality and justice remains unfinished, during a speech by NAACP Board of Directors Chair Roslyn McAllister Brock on Jan. 18.

Brock’s speech served as the keynote address for the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.

She said this year marks the 50th anniversary of the monumental 1965 Voting Rights Act that King helped to establish. The Voting Rights Act was a significant piece of legislation at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, prohibiting discrimination of minorities in United States elections.

“The struggle to secure voting rights is not an ancient issue,” she said, citing the 2013 Supreme Court decision to strike Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

Under Section 5, nine states — including Virginia — known for previous voter discrimination, had to seek federal approval for any changes made to their voting systems.

After the Court’s ruling, several Southern states began to mandate that voters show government IDs in order to vote, a move that some believe was targeted against poor minorities.

Brock encouraged the small audience gathered in W&L’s Keller theater to become involved in civil rights activism. She said everyone must join the movement for justice.

“The Civil Rights Movement is not a black thing — it’s an American thing,” Brock said. “It takes multiple thousands of individuals to really come together and make a movement work and to believe in a dream.”