Here in New Jersey nearly 150,000 people have lost their voting rights following a criminal conviction. (Scott Lituchy/The Star-Ledger)

Star-Ledger Guest Columnist By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist on August 08, 2015 at 6:00 PM, updated August 08, 2015 at 6:05 PM

By Ryan P. Haygood

The history-making events of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965, and ultimately freed the vote for millions of voters of color. New Jersey has a unique role in this story, as Atlantic City served as the site of the 1964 Democratic National Convention at which Fannie Lou Hamer famously delivered her powerful speech in support of black voting rights on behalf of the Mississippi Freedom Democrat Party.