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Collin College Hosts Voting Rights Act 50th Anniversary Event

Sept. 10, 2015 – Collin College will mark the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act with “An Evening with Dr. Zan Holmes,” at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 21 at the Spring Creek Campus Living Legends Conference Center, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano. The event is free and open to the public.

The event will offer audience members the chance to learn about and reflect on the effect of the Voting Rights Act on people who had been largely unrepresented before its passage. Collin College District President Dr. Neil Matkin will open the event, and  History Professor Michael Phillips, author of “White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion in Dallas, 1841-2001 , ” will offer a short presentation on the history of black voting rights from Reconstruction through the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

That will be followed by a discussion between Phillips and  Dr. Zan Holmes, a civil rights pioneer of the 1960s who was one of the first African Americans elected to the Texas State Legislature since Reconstruction. A minister at Hamilton Park United Methodist Church, Dr. Holmes led a neighborhood campaign to register voters, pay poll taxes and to lobby for support of civil rights legislation.

Dr. Holmes  will discuss his experiences with segregation, registering black voters in Texas in the 1950s and 1960s, the impact of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and his career in the Texas House of Representatives. Dr. Holmes will also speak on recent voter ID laws and the importance of voting for African Americans, Latinos and other communities.

A question-and-answer period will follow the discussion. 

Collin College serves nearly 52,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degrees and certificates. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and workforce development.