Day 13: Celebrate National Freedom Day – and Learn about Voting Rights!

Today in 1865, President Lincoln submitted the 13th Amendment to the states.

DAY 13 ACTION: Learn about voting rights in your state!

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963. Library of Congress.

There’s a lot happening in the news this week. But the right to vote is an important underlying issue and one worth thinking about for a few days.

President Lincoln worked with Congress to ban slavery in the Constitution, after signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Both houses of Congress passed the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery in the US. On February 1, President Lincoln submitted the amendment to states for ratification. He would not live to see it ratified.

In 1948, President Truman proclaimed February 1 National Freedom Day. But Truman did not de-segregate the military for another 5 months. Brown v. Board of Education was decided 6 years later and integration of our schools remains a challenge. In the late 1950s, African-Americans made up 45% of the population in Mississippi and 5% of the registered voters. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, and acts of bravery in the face of violence, finally increased voter registration in black communities.

In 2012, black voter turnout (66.1%) exceeded white voter turnout (64.1%) for the first time since Reconstruction. But those percentages are of total eligible voters. Two trends have lowered the numbers of eligible voters of color.  

Today’s action: Learn about your state’s civil death and voter id laws. Talk to others about these issues and then tell us about your state’s laws on Facebook or tweet us @misciendias.


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