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In 1869 stanton and anthony helped organize the

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In 1869, Stanton and Anthony helped organize the National Woman SuffrageAssociation (NWSA), an organization dedicated to ensuring that women gained theright to vote immediately, not at some future, undetermined date. Some women,including Virginia Minor, a member of the NWSA, took action by trying to register tovote; Minor attempted this in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1872. When election officialsturned her away, Minor brought the issue to the Missouri state courts, arguing thatthe Fourteenth Amendment ensured that she was a citizen with the right to vote.This legal effort to bring about women’s suffrage eventually made its way to theSupreme Court, which declared in 1874 that “the constitution of the United Statesdoes not confer the right of suffrage upon any one,” effectively dismissing Minor’sclaim.BLACK POLITICAL ACHIEVEMENTSBlack voter registration in the late 1860s and the ratification of the FifteenthAmendment finally brought what Lincoln had characterized as “a new birth offreedom.” Union Leagues, fraternal groups founded in the North that promotedloyalty to the Union and the Republican Party during the Civil War, expanded intothe South after the war and were transformed into political clubs that served bothpolitical and civic functions. As centers of the black communities in the South, theleagues became vehicles for the dissemination of information, acted as mediatorsbetween members of the black community and the white establishment, and servedother practical functions like helping to build schools and churches for thecommunity they served. As extensions of the Republican Party, these leaguesworked to enroll newly enfranchised black voters, campaign for candidates, andgenerally help the party win elections.The political activities of the leagues launched a great many African Americans andformer slaves into politics throughout the South. For the first time, blacks began tohold political office, and several were elected to the U.S. Congress. In the 1870s,fifteen members of the House of Representatives and two senators were black. Thetwo senators, Blanche K. Bruce and Hiram Revels, were both from Mississippi, thehome state of former U.S. senator and later Confederate president Jefferson Davis.Hiram Revels, was a freeborn man from North Carolina who rose to prominence as aminister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and then as a Mississippi statesenator in 1869. The following year he was elected by the state legislature to fill oneof Mississippi’s two U.S. Senate seats, which had been vacant since the war. Hisarrival in Washington, DC, drew intense interest: as theNew York Timesnoted, when“the colored Senator from Mississippi, was sworn in and admitted to his seat thisafternoon . . . there was not an inch of standing or sitting room in the galleries, sodensely were they packed. . . . When the Vice-President uttered the words, ‘TheSenator elect will now advance and take the oath,’ a pin might have been hearddrop.”Though the fact of their presence was dramatic and important, as theNew YorkTimesdescription above demonstrates, the few African American representatives

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US History, Civil War, Reconstruction, American Civil War, Reconstruction era of the United States, President Johnson, Vice President Andrew Johnson

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