Important Voting Milestones

This is a photo of the Voting Milestones Exhibit at the National Voting Rights Museum

1776
The Declaration of Independence was signed.

The Right to vote was restricted to property owners — most were white males over the age of 21.

1781
The Articles of Confederation were ratified. This was an agreement among all thirteen original states in the United States of America that served as its first Constitution.

1789
The U.S. Constitution declared persons of African decent 3/5th of a person.

1820
It was declared that all men who pay poll taxes can vote. This was a popular law among Southern States that required citizens to pay poll taxes.

1848
Mexicans were granted U.S. Citizenship but they were not allowed to vote.

1855
The first black elected official, John Langston, was elected Town Clerk, Brownhelm, OH.

April 12, 1812
The Civil War begins - a war over slavery and the political control of slavery.

December 6, 1865
The 13th Amendment legally ends Slavery

1865-1877
The Reconstruction Era - this era is also known as the beginning of legalized segregation.

1866
The Civil Rights Act granted citizenship to all native born Americans except "Indians"

February 3, 1870
The 15th Amendment enacted - Black Men have the constitutional rights to vote

1870
This is Joseph Rainey, who was elected as the first Black man to Congress

1882
The Chinese Exclusion Act keeps Chinese Americans from citizenship and voting

1901
Photo of the 1901 Alabama Constitution, created to keep blacks and poor whites from unifying thereby underminding their right to vote

1916
Photo of Jeanette Rankin - the first women elected to Congress

1917
The Silent Sentinels organized by Alice Paul begun protesting the White House to advance the Women's Suffrage Movement

1920
The 19th Amendment enacted guaranteeing black and white women the right to vote

1924
Native Americans gain the right to vote

1928
Samuel Boynton comes to Selma. A civil rights activist who with his wife Amelia Boynton, led voter registration drives in Selma, Alabama.

1933
C.J. Adams and others organized the Dallas County Voters League

1954
In 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education, Topeka Supreme Court Decision

The decision declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional

April 28, 1955
Emmett Till was murdered by White Men in Money, MS for allegedly flirting with a white Woman. The men were tried for murder, but an all-white, male jury acquitted them.

1962
Bernard Lafayette of S.N.C.C. arrives in Selma. S.N.C.C. was organized by young people and aided with sit-ins, marches and mass meetings

May 1963
Sam Boynton dies and the first mass meeting at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Selma, AL was held

September 15, 1963
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing occurred, killing 4 girls.

June 21, 1964
Schwerner, Goodman and Cheney were killed in Philadelphia, MS while registering people to vote

1964
Rev. F.D. Reese signs the letter from the Courageous 8 from the Dallas County Voter's League inviting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Selma

December, 1964
S.C.L.C workers and students break the injunction barring 3 or more Blacks from assembling together

January 25, 1965
Annie Cooper confronts Sheriff Jim Clark when he prevents her and others from registering to vote

February 5, 1965
Sheriff Jim Clark blocks Rev. C.T. Vivian and marchers from registering to vote at the courthouse

February 5, 1965
Malcolm X visits Selma, AL

February 18, 1965
Jimmie Lee Jackson and other marchers brutally attacked

March 7, 1965
Amelia Boynton was attacked on "Bloody Sunday"

March 9, 1965
Turnaround "Tuesday"

Marchers attempt to go across the Edmund Pettus Bridge but on the sight of all of the police cars and troopers they, kneeled, prayed and turned around.

March 9, 1965
Rev. James Reeb and two other ministers were beaten

March 14, 1965
President Johnson calls for voting Rights Act in his "We Shall Overcome Speech"

March 21, 1965
The successful Selma to Montgomery March begins

March 24, 1965
Arrival at St. Jude, where celebrities such as Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone and Joan Baez performed

March 25, 1965
Marchers arrive at Alabama State Capitol 25,000 strong

March 25, 1965
Viola Luizzo was murdered while driving back from a trip shuttling activist to Montgomery

August 6, 1965
President Johnson signs 1965 Voting Rights Act

August 20, 1965
Johnathan Daniels, a marcher who stayed to help after the Selma to Montgomery March was murdered in Hayneville, AL

1966
The first black Mayor elected to a U.S. city, Robert C. Henry, Springfield OH

August 31, 1967
Thurgood Marshall became the 1st African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice

1971
The 26th Amendment gives 18 year olds the Right to Vote

April 27, 1994
South African Apartheid ends - Leaders inspired by American Voting Rights Movement

2000
The First Black May of Selma - James Perkins, Jr. was elected

2004
Hip Hop artist and activist P. Diddy, Russell Simmons, TI and Queen Latifah, mobilized youth to vote in the Presidential Elections of 2004

November 4, 2008
Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States of America

June 25, 2013
Supreme Court invalidates Key Parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval

Credits: Story

Felecia Pettway, NVRMI Board Member
Pearlie L. Walker, NVRMI Administrator
Chico Cleveland, Video

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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