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Voting & Voting Rights: Pre-Civil Rights

A guide to resources on voting including voter registration and election information. This information is non-partisan, focusing on voting rights and citizenship.


The struggle for enfranchisement for African Americans is one steeped in blood, sweat and tears, and began immediately after the abolishment of slavery. The fight for voting rights would drag-on for decades and continue to be questioned and impeded through the present era.

Selected Newsclippings

Rosbrow, James M. "Jefferson F. Long, First Member of Race to Address House." The Pittsburgh Courier, March 5, 1949.
"When Federal Troops Seated Negroes in the Georgia Legislature"

Selected Readings

Supplemental Questions

  1. Compare and contrast the political progress of African Americans during Reconstruction era and post-Obama era as it pertains to voting Rights and representation in elected office.
  2. Looking forward, what is the biggest legislative hurdle facing African Americans and other minorities today; what legislation would –if you could write and why?
  3. In 1965 the Voting Rights Act outlawed poll taxes and literacy test that sought to disenfranchise African American and minority votes. What are some modern day hurdles minority voters face today and how can they overcome these obstacles?
  4. For years Get out and Vote Campaigns consisted of door to door canvasing, printed mailers, voter registration drives, and most recently social media ads. Many of these practices are still used today. Are they still effective? Why are Why not? If not, how can these methods be innovative in order to increase the effort to mobilize voters?
  5. What do you hope to change by voting?
  6. Does the past struggle for voting rights, mandate that you exercise the right yourself. Is not voting disrespectful to this legacy. Why or why not?