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'The White Men, They Would Not Let Us Register to Vote'

Aug 06, 2015 | 831 videos
Video by StoryCorps

Theresa Burroughs came of voting age in the late 1940s and was ready to cast her ballot. During the Jim Crow era in the rural South, however, the board of registrars at Alabama's Hale County Courthouse prevented African Americans from registering to vote. In this StoryCorps animation, A More Perfect Union, Burroughs recalls the persistence with which she visited the courthouse—on the first and third Monday of every month for two years with a pastor named J.J. Simmons. "We're going to go until the building falls down," she remembers the pastor telling her. "But the thing about it is, I didn't feel it should have been this hard," she says in the film. "I knew it shouldn't have been this hard."

A More Perfect Union made its national broadcast premiere on PBS’s documentary series POV. To watch more animated StoryCorps interviews online, visit

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Author: Nadine Ajaka

About This Series

A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.