One hundred years ago, women in the United States won the right to vote. Until that point, the country truly was ruled by men, and until 1870, black men were not included.
The 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, prohibited states from denying a male citizen the right to vote based on "race, color or previous condition of servitude ." Nevertheless, in the ensuing decades, various discriminatory practices were used to prevent African Americans, particularly those in the South, from exercising their right to vote.
As late as the 1960's, black voters, were often required to take literacy tests, recite the entire Constitution or pay a "Poll tax" before being allowed to cast their ballots.
In 1964, the 24th Amendment made poll taxes illegal. In August, 1965, a lmost 100 years after "winning" the right to vote, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act which banned literacy tests and similar qualifiers. In 1965, at the time of the passage of the Voting Rights Act, there were six African American members of the U .S. House of Representatives and no Black people in the U .S. Senate. By 1971, there were 13 members of the House and one Black member of the Senate.
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