Mar. 30, 2019

Reflecting On The 15th/19th Amendments #joesmokeblackthoughts

Section 1. 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.
 
Section 2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
 
149 years ago on March 30, 1870, the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified which supposedly opened the door to all the black men in this nation to have the right of the vote. It was this amendment in conjunction with the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery as well as the 14th Amendment which provided due process that all 3 amendments together gave black men full citizenship in the United States. Next year, 2020 will be the 150th Anniversary of the 15th Amendment's ratification but it won't be the actual date of full voting rights for black Americans.
 
Initially, the 15th Amendment only included black men, the 19th Amendment gave all women the right to vote 50 years later in 1920.
 
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 sex.
 
Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
 
 
Next year 2020 will be the centennial celebration of the 19th Amendment. Although, we know that the vast majority of black women weren't included in gaining the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. We will also be in the midst of a Presidential Election in 2020. We the vast majority of the history of the United States voters' suppression, as well as direct voters' oppression, has limited voter participation for Americans of African Descent. Even today, 2019, black voters are still being continually harassed with legal and procedural maneuvers from various state governments meant to limit black voters participation. It may be a photo identification being necessary to actually vote, it may be that the voter had been incarcerated and then disallowed the right to vote.
 
For almost a century after the ratification of the 15th Amendment and for almost 1/2 a century after the ratification of the 19th Amendment blacks whether male or female was purposely denied that constitutional right of voting in any election in almost every southern state in the United States. They faced multiple obstacles during that same period in many northern states as well. Our ancestors were told that they were incapable of making intelligent decisions related to participating in this civic duty.
 
If you know your black history you can hear the powerful words of Malcolm X asking our communities to choose between the ballot or the bullet. You can read the powerful words of Frederick Douglas demanding that this nation allow those who had recently been enslaved be given the right to decide their own future by the use of the ballot. You would hear the voices like Fannie Lou Hamer coming from Sunflower County Mississippi in the 1960s demanding that the right to vote is sacred and can longer be denied. You can hear the voice of Medgar Evers telling sharecroppers in that same state that they had rights just like those white oppressors. You can hear the voice of Martin Luther King Jr. telling those longing for freedom that going to the ballot box was the step towards independence. You can hear Adam Clayton Powell telling Harlemites to keep the faith and pack the polling booths.
 
The vote is sacred, the vote is our natural right and most important the vote is the step towards progress. If each and every black citizen engage in that right of civic participation. You will not be able to stop the train of progress. Why do you think that for so many years we as a people were denied the right to vote? Why do you think now many of our community opponents seek to condition us not to participate in voting? It is because they know that the ballot can, in fact, change the direction of the United States. Do you really think if the vast majority of black Americans participated in the 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump would've been elected President? Now look at the state of the nation today, we gave the power of judicial advise, consent, and review to Donald Trump, we allowed Donald Trump to endanger healthcare, education, and housing in many urban communities across this country. Just because we made an unconscious decision that our one vote didn't matter. Yet multiplying that one vote by the millions who made the same decision we allowed this shift to racist insanity to breed life.
 
So, on the 149th year that our black male ancestors was supposed to be full citizens in this country and the 49th year, our black female ancestors were supposedly granted the same right. The perfect storm is approaching in 2020. That storm can move a change across this nation that will bring about the absolute democracy every clear thinking American should thrive for. In addition, we can ensure that the current leadership in our nation's capital will change for the better. You just have to understand this lie you have been led to believe isn't true, your one vote doesn't matter, because it does!