Location: Glenn Heights Senior Center - 1932 S. Hampton Rd., Glenn Heights 75154
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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.
Black History & The Right to Vote Even before the Civil War, free black men first petitioned state legislatures for the right to vote, but it wasn’t until 1870 when the 15th Amendment was ratified providing that "the right to vote shall not be denied or abridged on the basis of race, color or previous condition of servitude." Even so, southern state legislatures immediately began undermining the protections found in the new amendment. Years of lawsuits and protests followed, but it wasn’t until the rise of the Civil Right Movement and Voting Rights Act of 1965 that the freedom to vote was enjoyed by a majority of southern blacks. Today, these freedoms have eroded by ’gerrymandering’ - or dividing voting districts to gain an unfair majority. Harsh voting restrictions by states have also been enacted to discourage voting among poor blacks. The ongoing struggle may seem disheartening, but there is hope. The 2018 US midterm election, for example, saw a surprising record number of minority and women voted into state legislative power coast to coast. The voting tallies sparked new optimism that the historic pendulum was swinging back - again - to equal voting rights for all.