Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. speaks at a rally for immigration reform on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing this week on the Voting Rights Act since the Supreme Court gutted the landmark civil rights law last month. The key witnesses were civil rights icon Representative John Lewis and Representative James Sensenbrenner, the former chair of the House Judiciary Committee who led the effort to overwhelmingly reauthorize the VRA in 2006.

In his testimony, Lewis described how he almost died fighting for the right to vote in 1965 and how friends of his never made it out of Mississippi alive. “I remember these problems and this struggle like it was yesterday,” Lewis said. He noted the “deliberate and systematic” attempt to make it harder for voters to participate in the last election, when nineteen states passed twenty-five new voting restrictions, saying “the Voting Rights Act is needed now like never before.”

click image to continue

This article is syndicated from Moyers & Company and is posted here with permission.