Since the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment, we took a brief moment to explore a couple of examples of factors led to its passage and ratification. To jog your memory, the 15th Amendment granted universal suffrage to all men, regardless of race/skin color/previous condition of servitude. It also authorized Congress the power to pass appropriate legislation to enforce the 15th Amendment. That being said, today’s black history moment is a factoid on Congress’ first attempts to enforce the 15th Amendment.
Key Highlights: The Enforcement Acts of 1870-71
* Composed of three separate laws that the U.S. Congress passed between 1870 and 1871, for the purpose of preventing attacks on the voting rights of African Americans from state officials
* Also known as the “KKK Acts” for preventing similar attacks against African Americans by violent extralegal groups like the Ku Klux Klan
* Essentially, the Acts protected African Americans’ right to vote, hold public office, and serve on juries; by allowing Federal military and/or civilian authorities to intervene if state governments failed to act
BHM Action Item: Visit and bookmark https://866ourvote.org/ or https://vote.gov/ now and register to vote, or to confirm your voter registration status. Tell your friends/loved ones to do the same!
In closing, visit the below sites and/or your local library to learn more about The Enforcement Acts/KKK Acts of 1870-71:
US Senate: Landmark Legislation – The Enforcement Acts of 1870 and 1871
US House of Representatives: The Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871
Federal Judicial Center – The Civil Rights Act of 1870