Legislature honors amendment guaranteeing blacks right to vote
Nevada’s Senate and Assembly on Friday passed a resolution commemorating the 150th anniversary of Nevada’s ratification of the 15th Amendment guaranteeing African Americans the right to vote.
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 5, sponsored by Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Minority Leader Jim Wheeler as well as Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson and Minority Leader James Settelmeyer, passed both houses unanimously.
Atkinson told fellow senators it was Nevada U.S. Sen. William Stewart who recognized in 1868 despite the Emancipation Proclamation, many states were still denying black citizens the right to vote and drafted the resolution.
Stewart’s resolution declared “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”
Artkinson and Frierson pointed out Nevada was the first state to ratify the amendment on March 1, 1869 and, within a week, six other states had also ratified the amendment. It was on Feb. 3, 1870 the amendment finally received enough state ratifications to become part of the Constitution.
Settelmeyer thanked Atkinson for the privilege of adding his name to the list of sponsors but pointed out to this day, “some states still have not ratified it.”
“Not that I’m calling out Tennessee,” he said.
It wasn’t until August 1920 the 19th Amendment extended that same right to include women.