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2018
2018 Memorial Sites | Vigil for victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (Getty Images)

Rosanell Eaton Obituary

Rosanell Eaton (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Rosanell Eaton (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Rosanell Eaton (1921 – 2018) was a lead plaintiff in a 2013 lawsuit in North Carolina that overturned unfair voting restrictions.

She joined the lawsuit to contest a state law that required prospective voters to present photo identification, did not allow them to register the same day that they planned to vote, and shortened the early voting period.

In 2016, a federal court ruled that the restrictions were designed to discourage black voters who usually supported democrats. The Supreme Court heard the case and a 4-4 ruling meant it would not reinstate the restrictions.

Eaton grew up on a farm and attended segregated schools. She became a voting rights advocate after dealing with various racist acts including crosses burned in her yard. The first time she went to vote in 1942, she was forced to recite the preamble to the Constitution. She recited it perfectly, overcoming the oppressive voting test. The former teacher estimated that she helped thousands of people register to vote.

For her dedication to civil rights, President Obama invited her to the White House in 2016.

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