This Day in History – January 8th, 1811 & 1867

Sometimes events that are years apart on the same day are bonded by the unfolding path of history and progress and today is such a day.

Deslonde-Revolt-1811

Charles Deslondes leads the revolt against slave owners.

Let us start with a man called Charles Deslondes who was one of the slave leaders of the 1811 German Coast Uprising, a slave revolt that began on January 8th, 1811, in the Territory of Orleans. He led more than 200 rebels against the plantations along the Mississippi River toward New Orleans. White planters formed militias and ended up hunting down the rebels. The slave insurgents killed two white men, and the militias and executions killed 95 slaves.

Move forward exactly 56 years, past the US Civil War, and on January 8th, 1867 African American men are granted the right to vote in Washington, D.C. 

President Andrew Johnson

President Andrew Johnson

This was achieved when Congress overrode President Andrew Johnson‘s veto of a bill granting all adult male citizens of the District of Columbia the right to vote, making the bill law. It was the first law in American history that granted African-American men the right to vote. According to terms of the legislation, every male citizen of the city 21 years of age or older has the right to vote, except welfare or charity recipients, those under guardianship, men convicted of major crimes, or men who voluntarily sheltered Confederate troops or spies during the Civil War. The bill, vetoed by President Johnson on January 5th, was overridden by a vote of 29 to 10 in the Senate and by a vote of 112 to 38 in the House of Representatives.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, the Republican-dominated Congress sought to enfranchise African-American men, who thus would be empowered to protect themselves against exploitation and strengthen the Republican control over the South. In 1870, in a major victory in this crusade, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, prohibiting all states from discriminating against potential male voters because of race or previous condition of servitude.

Flourish 3

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