This Day in History

Feb. 3, 1870: 15th Amendment Ratified

Time Periods: 1865
Themes: African American, Reconstruction, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights

The Fifteenth Amendment and its results poster | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's HistoryRatified on Feb. 3, 1870, the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution officially granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

However, the promise of the 15th Amendment was blocked for almost a century through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means — and more recently by voter ID laws.

Learn about all the anniversaries leading up to February 3 and those beyond from this detailed tweet thread by historian Stephen West.

Learn more in the Zinn Education Project national report, “Erasing the Black Freedom Struggle: How State Standards Fail to Teach the Truth About Reconstruction,” and find teaching resources on Reconstruction below.