Black History Month and the Vote

Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.

The Black History Month 2020 theme, African Americans and the Vote, is in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) granting women’s suffrage and the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) giving black men the right to vote.

In the Radical Reconstruction period that followed the Civil War, newly freed black men made great political gains, winning office in Southern state legislatures and even Congress. The Southern backlash was swift and marked by the passage of black codes designed to intimidate black voters, prompting a call for formal, national legislation on the right to vote.

The women’s rights movement grew out of the abolitionist movement, with activists like Frederick Douglas working alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton to secure the right to vote for all. That goal was reached with the passage of the nineteenth amendment in 1920.

Education plays a critical role in creating an environment that encourages learning and participating in issues affecting their communities and Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) lead the way.

Nearly 300,000 students attend the nation’s 101 accredited HBCUs, which graduate more than half of the nation’s black doctors, lawyers and judges, and 40% of its African American members of Congress.

In 2018, two of the three black Democratic gubernatorial candidates were HBCU alums: Stacey Abrams of Georgia, a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta and Andrew Gillum of Florida, a graduate of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, where he also served as mayor.

At least two of the 2020 presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have actively courted HBCUs with funding programs, which highlights the importance of HBCUS

According to BestColleges.com, Historically Black Colleges and Universities make up only 3% of the country’s colleges and universities, but enroll 10% of all African American students and produce almost 20% of all African American graduates.

In order to make information about HBCUs and minority-focused scholarships more accessible for all , below is a dedicated HBCU series in honor of Black History Month courtesy of Best Colleges.com.

HBCU Series