COLORADO SPRINGS — The Voting Rights Act was signed into law 57 years ago in 1965.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the act during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. It outlawed the discriminatory voting practices in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting.

In 1964, numerous peaceful demonstrations were organized by Civil Rights leaders, and the considerable violence they were met with brought renewed attention to the issue of voting rights. The murder of voting-rights activists in Mississippi and the attack by white state troopers on peaceful marchers in Selma, Alabama, gained national attention and persuaded President Johnson and Congress to initiate meaningful and effective national voting rights legislation. The Voting Rights Act was signed into law by Johnson on August 6, 1965.

The Voting Rights Act had an immediate impact. By the end of 1965, a quarter of a million new Black voters had been registered, one-third by federal examiners, according to National Archives. By the end of 1966, only four out of 13 southern states had fewer than 50 percent of African Americans registered to vote.

The law was readopted and strengthened in 1970, 1975, and 1982.

In a social media post, Governor Jared Polis wrote, “Today as we celebrate the Voting Rights Act, we recommit ourselves to protecting every American’s right to vote.”