Connect with us

#NNPA BlackPress

150 Years After Ratification of the 15th Amendment, Black Votes Are Still Contested

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “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. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” So reads the 15th Amendment, ratified on February 3, 1870, the third of what came to be known as the Reconstruction amendments.

Published

on

“The National Colored Convention in Session at Washington, DC.” Harper’s Weekly (February 6, 1869). Courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia, https://librarycompany.org/

The Black fight for the franchise

By Mel Reeves, Community Editor, Minnesota Spokesman-Review

As conservatives in some states continue to assault the fundamental right of citizens to vote by purging voter rolls, requiring certain ID’s and adding onerous burdens to dissuade folks from voting it’s important to note that this is nothing new. In fact, this week marks the 150th Anniversary of the Republican Party’s effort to put a halt of the former Confederate states’ and some former Union states’ efforts to prevent the newly freed slaves from exercising the franchise.

Voting, or the ability to have a say or at least the appearance of a voice, is seen as a fundamental, basic, guaranteed right in American democracy. Taxation without representation is what led to this country’s violent break with its then-colonial master England.

Electioneering in the South, circa 1868. Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-3fa3-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Electioneering in the South, circa 1868. Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-3fa3-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

The right to vote is seen in the U.S. as one of the most fundamental tenets of the nation’s democracy. However, historically many people who qualified as citizens of the republic were denied the right to vote from the beginning, including women and poor White men. In the early days of the Republic, the franchise was given only to White males who owned property.

Immediately after the Civil War, as a result of Union soldiers being stationed in Southern states, newly freed slaves were allowed to vote. Before the passing of the 15th Amendment, Congress had passed the Territorial Suffrage Act as means of allowing Blacks to vote in the newly opened U.S. territories.

“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. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” So reads the 15th Amendment, ratified on February 3, 1870, the third of what came to be known as the Reconstruction amendments.

The Reconstruction amendments included the 13th, which outlawed slavery, and the 14th, which granted citizenship to the freed slaves as well as guaranteeing equal protection under the law.

The 15th Amendment was passed by the United States Congress in 1869 in a move designed to assure the right to vote to its newly freed ex- slaves.

Freedmen Voting in New Orleans, circa 1867. Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-3fd9-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Freedmen Voting in New Orleans, circa 1867. Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-3fd9-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

The Radical Republicans did not wholeheartedly support the bill because it did not include wording that would prohibit poll taxes and literacy tests that were already being employed to prevent Blacks from voting. The monied class among the Whites recognized immediately the danger of Blacks being able to vote. Not only would White Supremacy be challenged, but they understood the ex-slaves had a more egalitarian, labor rights-friendly and social justice-oriented political agenda.

Technically, as citizens of the U.S., the freedmen had the franchise, but this amendment sought to cement that idea and prevent interference with Black voting. The newly freed slaves quickly took advantage of their ability to vote and voted their interests, which ironically helped lift the plight of their poor White brethren. As a result of being able to vote, Black voters sent several of their own to Congress. One of the most notable was Hiram Revels of Mississippi.

Revels was the first African American senator. He was one of the 16 Black men from seven Southern states who served in Congress during the Reconstruction era (1865-1877). They served as public officials under the constant threat of racial violence. In fact, Revels was eventually literally chased out of office and had to run to avoid being lynched.

The 15th Amendment did not give women the right to vote, nor did it give Native Americans the franchise. It continued to exclude ethnic Chinese, but it did open the door for poor White males.

The Amendment was ratified by 29 states. (Tennessee did not ratify the amendment until 1997.)

Voter Registration, Macon, Ga., Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-3fa4-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Voter Registration, Macon, Ga., Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-3fa4-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

The failure to enfranchise women caused a rift in the Women’s Suffrage Movement in which many supporters of suffrage were also abolitionists. Leading women voting rights advocates Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cade Slaton broke with the leading suffrage group as a result of Black voting rights being protected, but women were still left without the franchise.

While allowing the ex-slave the vote was a significant step in including the freedmen and women in U.S. society, the move was not altruistic. The ending of slavery meant the ending of the three-fifth clause in the Constitution. As a result, the newly freed slaves would be counted as individuals and would increase the representation of Southern states, which were more populous than Northern states as a result of the ex-slaves.

The Southerners sought to use this representation to their advantage by attempting to prevent African Americans, who overwhelmingly supported the Republican Party, from voting. White supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Red Brigade and White Citizens Councils also formed following the Civil War. These terrorist groups engaged in violence and other racist tactics to intimidate African Americans, people of color, Black voters and legislators.

In a history seldom told, in North Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi hundreds of Blacks were murdered in local coup de tat’s in which White Supremacists overthrew democratically elected city governments by force. These terrorist acts to limit voting were accompanied by the Black Codes.

The Black Codes were enacted by Southern states as a means to technically re-enslave Blacks and make them a permanent caste and underclass in the U.S. The codes sought to prevent Blacks from purchasing and owning guns and land. They restricted Blacks’ movement through racist vagrancy laws in which a Black person had to have a White person vouch for them.

The Black Codes forced the former slaves to enter into exploitative, yearlong labor contracts that hindered their ability to sell their labor to the highest bidder. Under the codes, no Black person could testify in court or sue a White person.

Historically, the 1965 Voting Rights Act sought to do what the 15th Amendment was designed to accomplish, which was to assure that Black people, especially in the Southern states, could cast their ballots. Sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act required states and local governments with histories of racial discrimination in voting to submit all changes to their voting laws or practices to the federal government. Once approved, they could take effect, a process called “preclearance.”

However, the Supreme Court has loosened the rules, opening the door to chicanery on the part of those who seek to limit the civil rights of Blacks and people of color. It includes proposed voter ID laws; closing polling stations, putting them out of the reach of the transit-challenged; and eliminating people from the voter rolls who have skipped an election or two.

While the right to vote by U.S. citizens has never been in question, who can vote is still being hotly contested in the U.S. as various states continually seek to find ways to prevent people from voting, especially Black and Brown people.

Black people’s political power is diminished by the fact that incarceration serves as a disqualification from the voting rolls, especially since a higher percentage are locked up by the bias inherent in the U.S. justice system. Moreover, though the first section of the 15th Amendment declared that the right to vote cannot be “denied or abridged” because of “a previous condition of servitude,” ex-prisoners are consistently denied the right to vote, a clear violation of the spirit of the amendment.

Apparently, judging from the history of Blacks and the vote, it is a right as long as they are willing to fight for it.

W.E.B. DuBois observed, “The slave went free; stood for a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.”

Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Panafricanmedia Networks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

#NNPA BlackPress

COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.
The post COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Published

on

By

By Burl “The Coach” Jones, Sports Editor, Houston Forward Times

Recently, Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban made a statement that Texas A&M bought every player they signed with NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deals.

Alabama came in second in recruiting this year. That has rarely happened since Saban stepped on campus at Alabama. He also stated that Jackson State University, an HBCU coached by Deion Sanders, signed the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal.

The NIL phenomenon was created in June 2021 by the NCAA. This allows athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Previously, the NCAA made billions in revenue off the backs of college athletes. With the advent of the NIL, expect a shift in the landscape of college football recruiting.

Schools like Texas A&M, Texas, and Oklahoma, have very rich boosters and alumni who have access to millions. They will come up with very creative ways to offer lucrative NIL deals to 5-star recruits. This apparently doesn’t sit well with Coach Saban, who is used to having his way, and getting most of the 5-Star recruits to sign with Alabama.

This will definitely level the playing field and gives schools like Texas A&M, that hasn’t won a National Championship in decades, a chance to recruit 5-Star athletes on a national level and could eventually lead to them winning a National Championship in the near future.

At least that’s what they hope in College Station.

As far as Coach Saban’s statement about Jackson State signing the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal is concerned, that was quickly debunked by Coach Prime, who immediately tweeted that he will address that lie. He followed that up with this statement:

“I haven’t talked to Coach Saban. I’m sure he tried to call. We need to talk publicly- not privately. What you said was public, that doesn’t require a private conversation. Let’s talk publicly and let everybody hear the conversation.”

Coach Saban is speaking from a place of privilege and bigotry. He is used to having his way and getting the players he wants. How dare a little old HBCU such as Jackson State get the #1 recruit in the country? It’s a slap in the face to all HBCUs to insist that they must pay a Black kid to attend an HBCU.

Paying recruits is certainly not new; it has been going on for years.

Former Houston Texan Travis Johnson, who was a 5-Star recruit, recently stated that Alabama offered him six figures in 2000 when he was being recruited.

“Y’all were the NIL before the NIL,” he said.

Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.

Coach Saban needs to be concerned about that pipeline that he had in Texas, getting those 5-Star recruits to leave the state. That oil money in Texas will be keeping those boys at home. Texas and Oklahoma will be joining the SEC in a few years and that will also influence Saban’s ability to recruit in Texas.

With all those factors coming into play, here is a bit of advice Coach Sabin:

SHUT UP AND COACH!!

“I’m just Telling It Like It Is!!”

The post COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th. Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head. Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people. It’s that simple and that sad. Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.
The post COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Published

on

By

By James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D., Houston Forward Times

Racism is a longstanding social illness in the United States of America. Seemingly, there is no cure for it.

It has been with us for as long as I can remember. The result of it has created heartache and heartbreak.

Lives have been lost and it has left the stain of disgrace on this country. Accomplishments, it could be argued, are sometimes overshadowed by our blatant disregard for some members of our beloved community.

I know for sure that racism will be around for as long as I live. It has been a part of my life experiences.

Unfortunately, and I say this with no pride, I have witnessed racism up close and personal.

I have been around long enough to watch the many levels of racism that exist in this country.

For example, we have had educational racism. Segregated schools were the norm until the case, Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka ended it.

Did that stop us from getting an education?

The answer is a resounding no!

Black colleges, now called Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), were founded in order that higher education was afforded to African Americans.

At this moment, HBCUs are the hottest and most talked about educational venue in the land.

Everybody wants to attend an HBCU. I am a graduate of an HBCU (Johnson C. Smith University), and I know the power and influence they have.

The right to vote has always been problematic for African Americans. It is a fundamental right for all Americans, according to the Founding Fathers.

The problem is that the ‘current fathers’ don’t see it that way.

Will that stop us?

The answer is another resounding no!

African Americans are now voting in record numbers and that trend will continue.

There are states in this union that are creating trumped-up rules to keep us from exercising our privilege at the polls.

Some in this country have taken racism below ground zero. There are people in our states who hate Black people and want to kill us.

That is a powerful statement, yet it is factual and true.

Interestingly, there are citizens who believe the opposite. I suspect their experiences are different, and they live in an almost contactless America.

If you are one of those people, pay close attention now.

Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th.

Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head.

Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people.

It’s that simple and that sad.

Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.

The victims were assaulted at a Tops Friendly Markets store and the victims ranged in ages from 20-86.

This crime of hate is unthinkable and was done with malicious intent.

The killer was not a Buffalo resident. He drove approximately 200 miles from Conklin, New York, to commit this heinous crime.

Gendron had already scouted out the place for his crime. He knew that many African Americans shopped at that location. That is sick beyond words.

According to reports, Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said, “We found some things that show he was here in early March, and then again, we know he was here on Friday, basically doing reconnaissance on the area.”

Gramaglia added, “He was in the store, both on Friday and Saturday.”

These statements were made by him to CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Payton S. Gendron surrendered to police after this life-altering atrocity.

America, where are we headed? Only time will tell.

The post Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings appeared first on Houston Forward Times.

The post COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices

NNPA NEWSWIRE — A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.
The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Published

on

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The average price for a gallon of gasoline has hit record numbers in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

This week prices rose nationally by four cents, and consumers wondered why the cost is so high.

A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.

“America has an abundance of resources right under our feet, and policymakers should send a clear message that America is open for energy investment,” Smith declared.

API noted that gasoline prices are determined by the supply and demand of crude oil and expenses for refining, distribution, retailing, and taxation. Those fundamental market realities drive prices at the pump, officials stated.

The main components of retail gasoline prices are the cost of crude oil, taxes, refining costs, and distribution and marketing costs, API officials stated.

Of those, the price of crude oil has the most significant impact – accounting for 56 percent of the cost.

“Because of this, changes in the price reflect the global cost of crude oil, which is influenced by current conditions and expectations of consumer demand, supply, inventories, geopolitical events, and other factors, generally have an effect on pump prices,” the organization stated in a fact sheet.

Further, federal, state, and local governments levy various taxes in fees on transportation fuels.

The nationwide average tax on gasoline is 57.09 cents per gallon, including a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and state-level taxes that range from 68.15 cents per gallon in California and 15.13 cents per gallon in Alaska.

API President and CEO Mike Sommers recently discussed the critical importance of American energy leadership “at a time of geopolitical volatility and rising energy costs around the world.”

Sommers urged policymakers to advance U.S. natural gas and oil production to support stability in global energy markets and ensure access to affordable, reliable energy for American consumers and our allies overseas.

“Most everyone knows that the world needs oil and natural gas in a big way and will for decades or more to come; the only question is where that oil and gas is going to come from,” Sommers remarked.

“As much as ever, we need to think hard about that economic truth and our energy future. That means recognizing energy from natural gas and oil as the critical strategic asset it is to America.”

“We can’t treat oil and natural gas as a kind of switch that is turned on or off to suit the moment,” Sommers continued.

“Production and delivery don’t work that way. Yet the overriding policy lately has been to cancel pipelines, block permits and deny leases – all things that discourage investment.

“As more Americans face the consequences of bad policy, the elements of good policy become that much more apparent and desired. We have an opportunity together to re-center the energy discussion with basic realities and good common sense as our starting point.”

Sommers called on the administration and Congress to develop a new five-year offshore leasing program; hold onshore leases on federal lands per the Mineral Leasing Act; approve LNG export applications and allow the approval of exports to non-free-trade-agreement nations, and craft transparent, consistent permitting regulations to enable the development of vital energy infrastructure.

The U.S. has pledged to increase LNG exports to Europe by 65 percent over the next six years.

How quickly could U.S. oil producers scale up production to put downward pressure on domestic gasoline costs?

What could the federal government do to promote that production?

API officials said it begins with access to resources, advancing infrastructure, and enabling – rather than deterring – the industry’s financing.

“Importantly, financial markets have become less hospitable to the natural gas and oil industry partly because of the Biden administration’s positions, policies, and signals,” API officials asserted.

“Those who have capital may be reluctant to invest in long-lived energy assets in such a climate, and a relatively fixed pool of cash flows that could be re-invested by industry have been increasingly spread thin.”

API listed four “concrete actions” the organization believes the Biden-Harris administration could immediately take to support American production.

They include conducting federal lease sales, completing a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing, supporting energy infrastructure, and reopening access to Alaska.

“The administration should reinstate the leases it suspended in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the permit development it approved in the National Petroleum Reserve,” API officials wrote.

“These were permitted with stringent environmental standards and could prove a significant source of domestic production over time.”

The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending