2020 is an important general election year, and a landmark year for voting rights. 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) which gave the right of black men to vote following the Civil War. It also marks the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement.This year’s theme for Black History month, “African Americans and the Vote”, recognizes the struggle for voting rights among both black men AND women throughout American history.It is an ongoing struggle for people of color that continues into the 21st century. Read Black History Activity Below. View Over Stand and Know.
The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century. Through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise African Americans. It would take the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote as guaranteed under the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Voting Rights Act is considered one of the most far-reaching pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S. history.
After the Civil War, the 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, prohibited states from denying a male citizen the right to vote based on “race, color or previous condition of servitude.” Nevertheless, in the ensuing decades, various discriminatory practices were used to prevent African Americans, particularly those in the South, from exercising their right to vote. During the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, voting rights activists in the South were subjected to various forms of mistreatment and violence. One event that outraged many Americans occurred on March 7, 1965, when peaceful participants in a Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights were met by Alabama state troopers who attacked them with nightsticks, tear gas and whips after they refused to turn back.
Even though the Voting Rights Act passed, state and local enforcement of the law was weak, and it often was ignored outright, mainly in the South and in areas where the proportion of blacks in the population was high and their vote threatened the political control of those in power. Music has carried the emotions and story of a people for generation. Click Below to Hear and Feel the Sound of the Time. Stories that still on your Mind until the day people become Kind.
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