On Sunday, May 3, 2015, Moment Magazine and the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute celebrated the golden anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 at the Newseum. Moderated by journalist Steven V. Roberts, the program’s panel included Former Congressman Barney Frank, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and civil rights leader Julian Bond.
The program also featured a live photo exhibition of some of the era’s iconic photographs and live music from the Selma march era.
Former Congressman Barney Frank served as United States Congressman from Massachusetts for over three decades, starting in 1981. An outspoken and deeply-respected legislator, noted for his keen sense of humor, Frank has played a key role in some of the most important legislation of our country’s recent history, including the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Frank became the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as openly gay, and in 2012 he married his longtime partner Jim Ready, becoming the nation’s first congressman in a same-sex marriage while in office.Frank’s sixteen terms in Congress have left a legacy of civil rights and financial reform. As noted by The Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Frank’s combative liberalism and quick wit make him a standout in a Capitol filled with politicians dependent on talking points and polls, a trait alluded to by Mr. Obama who said in a written statement that, ‘The House of Representatives will not be the same without him.’”
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, now in her thirteenth term as the Congresswoman for the District of Columbia. Before her congressional service, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to serve as the first woman to chair the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She came to Congress as a national figure who had been a civil rights and feminist leader, tenured professor of law, and board member at three Fortune 500 companies. Congresswoman Norton has been named one of the 100 most important American women in one survey and one of the most powerful women in Washington in another. The Congresswoman’s work for full congressional voting representation and for full democracy for the people of the District of Columbia continues her lifelong struggle for universal human and civil rights.
Civil rights leader Julian Bond is a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement. While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, he helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He was elected Board Chairman of the NAACP in 1998. Today Bond is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at American University in Washington, D.C., and a Professor in the history department at the University of Virginia. He has received 25 honorary degrees.
Moderator Steven V. Roberts has been a journalist for almost 50 years, covering some of the major events of his time, from the antiwar movement and student revolts of the 60s and 70s to President Reagan’s historic trip to Moscow in 1988 and twelve presidential election campaigns. After graduating from Harvard magna cum laude in 1964, he joined the New York Times as research assistant to James ‘Scotty’ Reston, then the paper’s Washington bureau chief. His 25-year career with the Times included assignments as bureau chief in Los Angeles and Athens, and as Congressional and White House correspondent. He was a senior writer at U.S. News for seven years, specializing in national politics and foreign policy. Roberts and his wife, TV journalist Cokie Roberts, write a nationally-syndicated newspaper column that was named one of the ten most popular columns in America by Media Matters.