This year, Miami Dade College (MDC) again celebrates Black History Month with an array of community and educational activities that highlight African Americans and the Vote, at each of its eight campuses.
The year 2020 marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement. It also marks the sesquicentennial of the 15th Amendment (1870) and the right of black men to the ballot after the Civil War.
The theme speaks to the ongoing struggle on the part of both black men and black women for the right to vote. This theme has a rich and long history, which begins at the turn of the 19th Century, i.e., in the era of the Early Republic, with the states’ passage of laws that democratized the vote for white men while disfranchising free black men.
Thus, even before the Civil War, black men petitioned their legislatures and the U.S. Congress, seeking to be recognized as voters.
Tensions between abolitionists and women’s suffragists first surfaced in the aftermath of the Civil War, while black disfranchisement laws in the late 19th and early 20th centuries undermined the guarantees in the 14th and 15th amendments for the great majority of southern blacks until the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The important contribution of black suffragists occurred not only within the larger women’s movement, but within the larger black voting rights movement. Through voting-rights campaigns and legal suits from the turn of the 20th Century to the mid-1960s, African Americans made their voices heard as to the importance of the vote. Indeed, the fight for black voting rights continues in the courts today.
For a complete list of events, visit http://www.mdc.edu/blackhistory/.