Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Black History Month: African Americans and the Vote

Each year we celebrate Black History Month in February to recognize African American achievements and the impact of blacks in United States history. The year of 2020 marks some major anniversaries of milestones reached throughout history. The Fifteenth Amendment, which states, “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,” celebrates its 150th anniversary. We also celebrate the Nineteenth Amendment, which states, “The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote, a right known as women’s suffrage, and was ratified on August 18, 1920, ending almost a century of protest” as it rings in its centennial year.

In addition to these historic amendment anniversaries, throughout the entire month of February, we celebrate and honor the accomplishments and central role of African Americans throughout all of history in the United States and around the world. Each year, there is a unique theme designated to this monthly celebration and recognition. This year, the theme is focused around the two amendments because of their noteworthy anniversaries in 2020. The theme is “African Americans and the Vote.” As we reflect and honor the theme and all it represents this month, we must continue to recognize there are still ongoing struggles of African American men and women for the right to vote. This month calls for the recognition of how far we have come, but also calls for realization in how far we still have to go.

The two milestones in African American History mentioned above are only a small sampling of significant events that are celebrated and honored each year during the month of February. I encourage everyone to continue learning and understanding the history of African Americans to not only better appreciate Black History Month, but to further assist in the progress of our society today.

If you are interested in Black History Month events and opportunities in the surrounding Philadelphia area, check out the Guide to Black History Month in Philadelphia 2020 provided by Visit Philadelphia.

*Amendment information provided by www.history.com