Many accounts of political history in Virginia suggest that African-American political activity disappeared by 1900 and only reappeared in the 1930's. A look into local politics, in Charlottesville, Virginia, tells a different story, however.
In 1865, the United States Civil War ended and Reconstruction began. By 1867 Virginia, along with other seceeded states, guaranteed African-American suffrage as a condition of readmission to the Union.
Political Developments in Virginia
Political Developments in Charlottesville
|December 3, 1867 Constitutional Convention (also called Underwood Convention) held in Richmond. 25 of the 105 members of the convention are African Americans.||1867 African American, J.T.S. Taylor, was elected to the Constitutional Convention.|
|July 6, 1869 General Assembly elected.
27 of the 180 new members
were African Americans.
1870 The Fifteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution was nationally ratified.
1870-1876 Virginia legislature passed several laws designed to restrict African-American political participation.
|1869 J.T.S. Taylor was nominated as a General Assembly representative, but defeated.|
|1891 Not one African American remained in either house of the state legislature.||April 10, 14, 20, 1896
African-Americans J.T.S. Taylor, G.P. Inge, Noah Jackson, C.E. Coles, S.
Saunders actively participated in Republican Mass and Committee meetings.
July 13, 1896 Political Correspondence reported that African Americans were "canvassing the city and urging the election of a colored man to the position of City Chairman."
November 9, 1898 The Daily Progress reported "THE ELECTION. A Quiet Day Everywhere and a Small Vote." The article claimed that the Democrats were unchallenged, the Republicans seemed unmotivated, and that the African Americans had grown tired.
|1894 Walton Act, disfranchising law based on literacy, went into effect.|
|1898 The Republican Party and African Americans seemed to have been eliminated from Virginia Politics|
|March 1900 Politicians debated the merits of a Constitutional Convention. Many Republicans favored African-American voter exclusion in hopes of ending voter fraud and restablishing a two-party system. The "lily white" movement began.||May 24, 1900 Albemarle County (which included Charlottesville) voted in favor of Constitutional Convention.|
|August, 13, 1900 "WILL IT WORK," an editorial in The Daily Progress, questioned the feasibility of a "lily white" Republican party and its fairness with respect to African Americans.|
|August 20, 22, 23, 1900 In articles "VOTE OF NEGROES", "MEETING OF COLORED MEN", and "THE CONFERENCE ADJOURNS", The Daily Progress reported on the Virginia Conference of Colored Men that met at the Odd Fellows' Hall in Charlottesville, Virginia, in order to discuss methods of protest against African-American disfranchisement in upcoming Constitutional Convention. This group later developed into the Virginia (or Negro) Educational and Industrial Association.|
|June 21, 1901-July, 1902
Constitutional Convention held in Richmond. Main goal of the convention
was to disfranchise African Americans legally.
April 4, 1902 Suffrage proposal passed in Convention.
July 10, 1902 New Constitutional Amendments went into effect.
November 14, 1902 With the support of the Virginia Educational and Industrial Association, lawyers James Hayes (an African-American from Richmond) and John S. Wise (a white Republican from New York) brought two suits to the Virgnia courts testing the validity of the new constitution. By 1904, appeals were denied and the State Supreme Court supported the 1902 amendments as constitutional.
|October 4, 1902 The Daily Progress reported on the "Recent Voter Registration Drive". 755 whites and 84 African Americans were registered. The article proceeded to explain the reasons certain African Americans were able to qualify and listed them by name.|
|1905-1920 Republican Party strengthened
efforts to become a "lily white" party and
itself from African Americans. Republican leaders openly announced that
African-American participation was undesired, and the party excluded
African Americans from state conventions.
October 11, 1906 African Americans hold meeting in Richmond to select African-American independent candidate as a political gesture against "lily white" movement.
1908 Virginian African Americans and "old-line" Republicans sent independent delegation to National Convention in protest of "lily white" delegation, but were denied seating.
July 30, 1912 "Black and Tan Alliance" led by James A. Hayes held counter convention in protest of delegation selected at Roanoke, but the convention received little attention.
September 1912 Richmond Democratic Committee agreed to cooperate with the National Negro Wilson League, in an attempt to break traditional alliance with Republican Party.
|May 22, 1907 In "SWELLED CITY'S VOTING
LISTS", The Daily Progress commented on the increase of African
American registered voters and listed the number of new registrants since
November. The new totals included 659 whites and 135 African Americans.
According to the article, the number of African American voters had more
than doubled within the past year, while the number of white voters
appeared to decline.
1908 In a campaign for the upcoming Presidential Election, the state Republican party published the voter registration requirements in The Daily Progress. The Post Script read: "If, when you read these laws, you get mad, remember that the Democratic party made them to beat you, and make up your mind to qualify yourself to vote against such a party."
|1920 The 19th Ammendment, which granted
women the right to vote, was adopted.
September-October, 1920 Biased registration and delay tactics were used to limit the number of African-American women able to register to vote.
1920 The "Lily black" movement increased their level of protest. Some Virginia African Americans completely severed relations with Republican Party and run an entire slate of African-American candidates on the State and National level.
|October 5, 1920 Three Charlottesville African-American women were successful in registering to vote: Mrs. Maggie P. Burley, Mamie J. Farwell, Mrs. Alice Grady.|
|July 14, 1921 Republican Party openly declared itself a white man's party at the State convention in Norfolk. GOP expressed disapproval of the Democratic party's persistence in playing the race card against republicans.||November 1, 1921 In The Daily
Progress, certain Republican leaders publish a letter protesting the appointment of
African-American electoral judges.
November 5, 1920, the Electoral Board answers that they performed their duties faithfully and legally "believing that there are more colored Republicans in the City of Charlottesville than white Republicans".
November 1921 Albemarle County Republican Committee publishes a full-page ad, "A CHEAP POLITICAL TRICK. REPUBLICANS ASK FOR FAIR PLAY", in response to the appointment of African-American electoral judges.
|July, 1922 Republican Congressional Convention held in Luray. GOP continued to proclaim itself a "lily white" party and refused to seat African American delegates from Charlottesville.||April 17, 1922 Chairman L.W. Cox sent a
State Chairman John E. Beard requesting permission to delay the city
convention to elect delegates to the Congressional Convention in July.
May 5, 1922 R.N. Flannagan, President of the Henry Anderson Independent Club, sent a letter to the Republicans of Charlottesville proposing to hold a city convention May 15th in protest of Cox's delay.
May 16, 1922 The Daily Progress gave a report about the Republican meeting led by Flannagan and listed the delegates chosen.
June 15, 1922 Cox called to order city convention to elect representatives to attend Republican Congressional Convention. Four African Americans were elected at this convention.
As a result, Charlottesville sent two delegations to the Republican State Convention. One, led by Flannagan, was all white. The other, led by Cox, included four African Americans.
July 23, 1922 In "NEGROES AGAIN BARRED FROM G.O.P. CONVENTION" The Daily Progress reported the dismissal of the Cox delegation and the seating of Flannagan's "lily white" delegation.