Published October 27, 2020

Gilda R. Daniels, author of Uncounted: The Crisis of Voter Suppression in America, is a former Deputy Chief in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Voting Section. She is a professor of law at the University of Baltimore Law School and the Director of Litigation for Advancement Project’s National Office. Learn more at GildaDaniels.com

Get to know Gilda in this Q&A and then join us on Wednesday, October 28 at 7 PM ET (please note that this is an evening event!) to hear her discuss her work in our special pre-election virtual event VOTE! — Gilda Daniels and the #1 Antidote for Voter Suppression.

Festival: What motivated you to pursue a career in law? 

Daniels: My interest in pursuing law is linked to my Southern roots. I grew up in a primarily segregated southern town in Louisiana and saw how those in power were able to use the law to their advantage. I did not know any lawyers until I went to law school. The only lawyer I “knew” was Thurgood Marshall. 

What was your favorite part about writing your latest book?

My favorite part about writing my book, Uncounted was collecting first hand accounts of voter suppression, either from interviews, media accounts or legal filings. It helps to make the numbers real. 

Do you have any sources of inspiration that you come back to while writing? 

My sources of inspiration are my parents and grandparents. I am honored to weave their stories into this American story.

What impact or takeaway do you hope your work will have for readers? 

I am hopeful that people will have a greater understanding of voter suppression, its historical and contemporaneous realities and provide some solutions to eradicate it from our democratic form of government.

Describe how a book changed your life or perspective. 

I am a visual learner. When I read, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, I could see Janie. 

What is something that you’ve read recently and would recommend to others?

I have been working on this election and have not had time for leisure reading. I try to read my Bible daily. 

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