Approved by the 38th Congress — as S.
African Americans and the 15th Amendment African Americans and the 15th Amendment Following the Civil War, Radical Republicans in Congress introduced a series of laws and constitutional amendments to try to secure civil and political rights for black people.
The right that provoked the greatest controversy, especially in the North, concerned black male suffrage: InCongress passed a law requiring the former Confederate states to include black male suffrage in their new state constitutions.
Ironically, even though African American men began voting in the South afterthe majority of Northern states continued to deny them this basic right. Radical Republican leaders feared that they might lose control of Congress to the Democrats. Republicans assumed the new black voters would vote Republican just as their brothers were doing in the South.
By increasing its voters in the North and South, the Republican Party could then maintain its stronghold in Congress. The Republicans, however, faced an incredible dilemma.
The idea of blacks voting was not popular in the North. In fact, several Northern states had recently voted against black male suffrage. In Maythe Republicans held their presidential nominating convention in Chicago and chose Ulysses S.
Grant as their candidate. The Republicans agreed that African-American male suffrage continued to be a requirement for the Southern states, but decided that the Northern states should settle this issue for themselves.
Grant was victorious in the election ofbut this popular general won by a surprisingly slim margin. It was clear to Republican leaders that if they were to remain in power, their party needed the votes of black men in the North.
For two months, Congress considered the proposed amendment. Several versions of the amendment were submitted, debated, rejected and then reconsidered in both the House and Senate. Finally, at the end of FebruaryCongress approved a compromise amendment that did not even specifically mention the black man: The right of citizens of the United States 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.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. Once approved by the required two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate, the 15th Amendment had to be ratified by 28, or three-fourths, of the states. Due to the reconstruction laws, black male suffrage already existed in 11 Southern states.
Since almost all of these states were controlled by Republican reconstruction governments, they could be counted on to ratify the 15th Amendment. Supporters of the 15th Amendment needed only 17 of the remaining 26 Northern and Western states in order to succeed.
At this time, just nine of these states allowed the black man to vote. The struggle for and against ratification hung on what blacks and other political interests would do.
It is said that we are ignorant; admit it. But if we know enough to be hung, we know enough to vote.As a previously incarcerated person who had his voting rights restored in , Denver Schimming knew the power and importance of voting.
His years in prison taught him that the criminal justice system could change only if impacted people spoke out. Dorothy Height was a civil rights and women's rights activist focused primarily on improving the circumstances of and opportunities for African-American women.
While her bid for Congress may have been unsuccessful, Hamer’s legacy of political activism during the Civil Rights Movement will never be forgotten. 4. Dorothy Height () Dorothy Height spent her life focused on improving the opportunities of African American women.
Race, Drugs, and Law Enforcement in the United States. Published in the Stanford Law and Policy Review. Ruffin was born August 31, into one of Boston's leading black families. In , at the age of 15, she became the wife of George Lewis Ruffin, the first African American to graduate from Harvard Law School.
During the Civil War Ruffin was involved in various civil rights causes, charity work, and the women's suffrage movement. On October 25 African American women participate in the Million Woman March in Philadelphia, focusing on health care, education, and self-help.