THE RIGHT TO VOTE, or suffrage, is a privilege often taken for granted. For African Americans living in the Jim Crow South, however, obtaining and, even more importantly, maintaining this right proved to be a war not easily won. In 1867, the state of Virginia guaranteed African-American suffrage. White politicians spent the next 60 years trying to disfranchise (or take away their right to vote) and eliminate African-American political involvement. Although disfranchisement by the Democrats and abandonment by the Republicans seemed certain, African Americans did not remain silent nor inactive. Anti-disfranchisement activity (or challenges against the attempts of political elimination) by African Americans was prevalent through persistent voting, continuous political activity and campaigning, and independent organizational movement.
To understand disfranchisement and anti-disfranchisement on a local level, visit CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA between the years 1900 to 1925. Total population in 1910 included 6,765 people, 2,524 African Americans and 4,236 whites. Among the 1,742 males of voting age, 550 were African-American. While Charlottesville may have had a smaller population than some of Virginia's larger cities, political activity and controversy was still alive and well. Sweeping generalizations about Southern political thought and voting become inaccurate and inadequate when exploring local movement.
Against a local backdrop, this site explores the repercussions of state-wide political events and movements. Individual profiles, newsclippings, meeting accounts, letters written by political leaders, and broadsides (or flyers) are included to communicate the human feelings of determination, frustration, and hope that participated on both sides of the suffrage debate.
|Timeline of State and Local Politics|
|Republican Party Politics||Accounts of Meetings||Constitutional Convention|
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