It is February and as Black History Month commences, we draw attention to the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment to Constitution of the United States. The third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments, the Fifteenth Amendment prohibits the federal government and each state from denying a citizen the right to vote "on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude". On February 3rd, 1870 the Fifteenth Amendment effectively gave African American men the right to vote, though it was not until 1965 that legal barriers were banned at the state and local levels.
Ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment occurred as early as March 1st, 1869 in the state of Nevada, and as late as April 8th, 1997 in the state of Tennessee. However, Iowa was the 28th state to ratify on February 3rd, 1870, following Georgia the day before. Because Nebraska and Texas had also ratified by the middle of the month, the timing was pivotal for national legislation and widespread celebrations in black communities and abolitionist societies.
The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- ... New Jersey Rejects The Fifteenth Amendment, Georgia Ratifies the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. (1870, Feb 03). Republican Banner (1837-1875)
- The Fifteenth Amendment Ratified. (1870, Feb 04). Chicago Tribune (1860-1872) Retrieved
- Telegraph News: From Washington The Fifteenth Amendment. (1870, Feb 21). The Sun (1837-1994)
- THE: How The Colored People ... Yesterday (1870, May 05). Republican Banner (1837-1875)
- Knott, A. L. (1902, May 05). From the People: Views Of Readers Of The Sun On Timely Topics: The Fifteenth Amendment Additions To the Constitution Of the United States Which Were Written In With the Sword. The Sun (1837-1994)
- Wouldn't Strike Out "White" In '47: How State Ratified Fifteenth Amendment Twenty-Two Years Ago (1907, Aug 14). The Hartford Courant (1887-1922)
- The Negro In February History. (1927, Feb 26). The Pittsburgh Courier (1911-1950)
- Our History Of Voting. (1920, Dec 31). Afro-American (1893-1988)
- When 10,000 Paraded: Ratification Of 15TH Amendment. (1965, Sep 11). Afro-American (1893-1988)
- Lippmann, W. (1965, Mar 24). The Basic Question Is Whether 15th Amendment Will Be Enforced. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995)
- Lippmann, W. (1965, Mar 26). Crux Of It. The Austin Statesman (1921-1973)
- African American Time Line 1852-1890: 1852. (2005, Feb 17). Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005)
- Duignan, B. The U.S. Constitution and Constitutional Law. New York : Britannica Educational Pub. in association with Rosen Educational Services, 2013. e-book
- Neumann, C. Term Paper Resource Guide to African American History. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2009. CURR E184.7 .N47 2009
- Black Voting Rights The Fight For Equality. Amawalk, N.Y. : Golden Owl Pub. Co., c1992-1993. CURR JK1924 .B581 1992
- Waud - 1867 - The First Vote, Wikimedia Commons
- Special News Slide, Courtesy of EdLab Studios
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