The 19th Amendment was approved in 1919 and ratified in August 1920, granting women the right to vote. But state laws designed to keep Black Americans from voting still stood — including poll taxes and literacy tests. Asian women, Latinas and Native American people were also kept from voting.
It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that voting access for most Americans was improved.
More than a century later, voting rights is still a key issue. National legislation to expand rights has stalled in Congress, while over a dozen states have passed laws to restrict voting rights. And this all comes ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
On Monday, “Chicago Tonight” co-host and “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” host Brandis Friedman moderated the latest edition of our “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” community conversation series in a discussion focused on the state of voting rights.
Friedman was joined by Mary Morten, president of Morten Group; Felicia Davis Blakley, president and CEO of the Chicago Foundation of Women; and Katrina Phidd, communications and digital strategy manager at Chicago Votes.
The guests looked back on the women’s suffrage and the Civil Rights movements, and look forward, considering where voting rights stand today.