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SUNDAY, MARCH 31: FIRST VOTERProfile America —
Sunday, March 31st.
The 15th Amendment to the Constitution declared the right to vote — quote — shall not be denied or abridged by
the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude — end quote. It became law on
February 3, 1870. This milestone in civil rights was first exercised on this date that year, though in a decidedly minor electoral matter.
Thomas Peterson-Mundy, a former slave, was the first African-American to exercise the franchise, casting a vote in favor of revising the charter for Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He, himself, was elected to a committee to draft the change. In the congressional elections of 2010, 11.1 million blacks cast votes, accounting for 12 percent of the electorate.
Profile America is in its 16th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Sources: U.S, Census Bureau, Facts for Features, CB13-FF.02
www.loc.gov, Primary Documents in American History
Profile America is produced by the Center for New Media and Promotions of the U.S. Census Bureau. These daily features are available as produced segments, ready to air, on a monthly CD or on the Internet at
http://www.census.gov (look for "Multimedia Gallery" by the "Newsroom" button).
SOURCE U.S. Census Bureau