Politics, United States

Are Voting Rights for African-Americans Still an Important Issue Today?

Jim Crow laws legalized segregation including drinking fountains

For centuries, African-American rights has been a controversial issue. America has evolved for the benefit of the country-especially in the situation of voting rights. However, African American’s right to vote is still a matter in the 21st century.

To this day, equal voting rights for people are still not addressed everywhere in the world. After the civil war, African Americans were still discriminated against from white Americans. The Civil War was fought over slavery. When it came to an end in 1865, Radical Republicans tried to promote equality for African Americans but Southerners didn’t approve. This led to various laws placed on African Americans and their right to vote. African Americans desired to vote, however, there were also laws put upon colored people that prevented them from voting. Lincoln once said, “ The ballot will be their only protection after the bayonet is gone, and they will be sure to need all they can get”(Lincoln). They wanted to vote, but the laws put upon colored people that made them unable to vote or nearly impossible. Poll tax was one of the many laws put in place that limited the amount of votes from colored people; it was a tax put on people who wanted to vote. Not only were African Americans not allowed to vote but they did not get any money to vote because they had low income taxes and didn’t have enough money to afford the poll tax.  Another restriction was the literacy test that was put upon African Americans who wanted to vote. If they could not pass the literacy test, a reading comprehension exam, they were not granted people the right to vote. Also, the grandfather clause was a primary restriction for African American voting rights. It is the right to vote only if you have a white grandfather who can vote. As a result of these restrictions, the black voter registration in the South plummeted. Jim crow laws was a life changing law put upon colored people. Colored people weren’t allowed to do daily activities in the same area as white people.

Towards the end of the Jim Crow laws, the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. Due to the innumerable amount of racism across countries and the need to enforce our 15th amendment in the Constitution, the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. The Voting Rights act allowed millions of African Americans the right to vote. The Jim Crow era was over and voting rights for African Americans were equal to whites.

In America, voting rights are (still) complicated. A major factor contributing to the poor turnout of voting is the slight challenge of access and registration. Voter ID laws are being taken into account to become stronger. However, the problem with this is that it disenfranchises minority voters who have inadequate identification.  Researchers

Voting rights for people of color is still an issue of today’s society. Although the 13th, 14th and 15th amendment supported voting rights for black people, there are and were numerous restrictions put in place against African American voting rights. The Jim Crow laws made voting abilities and natural rights a struggle for African Americans. Once the Jim Crow Era was over, the limitation of voting ended because of the Voting Rights Act. Although rights were put in place for African Americans to vote, today’s outlook on voting rights for African Americans aren’t the same as white Americans. As Americans, no matter what skin color, we need to come together to promote voting rights for both races so we can be a happier and stronger nation.

Article by Ariel Sonenstein and Ashley Rabang

Works Cited

Black Holocaust Museum Voting Rights for Blacks and Poor Whites in the Jim Crow South

Kaplan, Fran, and Adecola Adedapo. “America’s Black Holocaust Museum.” Americas

Global Citizen, Global Citizen, 8 Nov. 2016,

Powell, Luca. “What Democracy and Voting Rights Look Like Around the World.”

Lincoln, Abraham. “Inside the White House in War Times.” Google Books


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