5 Days in History that Should Inspire You to Vote

Voting for the primary election started today in Arkansas. Election day polls are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. There are many reasons for citizens to exercise their right to vote. For a little inspiration, here is a countdown of five days in history that overwhelmingly demonstrate the power of the vote.

Day #5 – August 18, 1920, Women Get the Vote

Votes for WomenThe modern movement where women campaigned for the right to vote can be traced back to the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, when supporters of a Constitutional Amendment to allow women to vote came together.

Women’s suffrage gained momentum in the early 1900’s and women were finally allowed the right to vote in 1920 with the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment. Because African Americans were denied the right to vote during this time, black women could not exercise this right until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1965.


Day #4 – June 14, 1962, Native Americans Get the Vote

The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 declared all non-citizen Native Americans born within the United States to be citizens, giving them the right to vote.

Despite the passage of the act, many states continued to deny Native Americans their right. In 1957, Native Americans in Utah were finally able to vote when the Supreme Court agreed to review a case where Native Americans living on reservations were still unable to vote according to state law. In 1962 New Mexico became the last state to repeal its discriminatory voting laws and allow Native Americans to vote.


Day #3 – August 6, 1965, African Americans Get the Vote
March on Washington

Thanks to the 15th Amendment, black men were given the right to vote in 1870, but amidst political turmoil and the end to Reconstruction, “Black Codes,” state laws that restricted the freedoms of African Americans, virtually stripped away this right in 1877.

Thanks to the those involved in the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans were able to exercise their right to vote freely again in 1965, 102 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves. The Voting Rights Act was passed which prohibited barriers to voting such as literacy tests and poll taxes.


Day #2 – June 4, 1975, Latinos Get the Vote

In states such as Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas, Mexican Americans were exposed to intimidation tactics to keep them from voting even though the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican American war, granted them citizenship in 1848.

Mexican Americans, Hispanic, and Latino citizens could not fully exercise their right until 1975 when President Gerald Ford reauthorized the special provisions of the Voting Rights Act, including new measures to permanently bar literacy tests nationwide and give assistance to language minority voters.


Day #1 – October 4, 2014, Register by this Date to Vote on Election Day, November 4

Vote

Credit: Vox Efx, Flickr Creative Commons, (CC BY 2.0)

“Most mob activity in the Gilded Age [1875-1900] was a response to black political participation and economic success. Political violence sparked riots in Conway County, [Arkansas] throughout the 1880s, as white supremacists forcefully (often violently) kept black citizens—a large percentage of the county’s population—from voting.”~ Ryan Poe

Unlike many of those who came before us, we enjoy the freedom to vote without the threat of violence or intimidation.

Choosing not to exercise your rights thwarts over 142 years of struggle and progress.

No matter your affiliation or views, vote!

It’s Your Turn to Help Shape History

*Please Note: According to Arkansas voter registration laws, the deadline to register to vote is 30 days prior to election date.

For information on how to register, check your registration status, or other election information, see the Arkansas Secretary of State site.

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Sources

Amendment, ruling that racial segregation in public schools violates the Fourteenth, and the decision overturns the doctrine of "separate but equal" established in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896.. "Timeline: Voting Rights Act | American Civil Liberties Union." American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. http://www.aclu.org/timelines/timeline-voting-rights-act.
"Black Americans in Congress - Permanent Interests." Black Americans in Congress - Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. http://baic.house.gov/historical-essays/essay.html?intID=7&intSectionID=45.
Graves, John William. "Poll Tax - Encyclopedia of Arkansas." The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?search=1&entryID=5045.
Poe, Ryan ."  Race Riots - Encyclopedia of Arkansas." The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?search=1&entryID=5170
Schultz, Jeffrey D.. Encyclopedia of minorities in American politics. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 2000. Print.

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The Institute on Race and Ethnicity at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock was founded in July 2011. With a vision to make Arkansas the best state in the country for promoting and celebrating racial and ethnic diversity, the Institute conducts research, promotes scholarship and provides programs that address racial inequities. It does so by facilitating open and honest dialogue aimed at empowering communities and informing public policy to achieve more equitable outcomes.

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