Black History: Focus Moments


For the 4th year in a row, the Transformative Justice Coalition and the Voting Rights Alliance, in honor of Black History Month, are publishing a daily special series devoted to sharing the legacies and stories of the sheroes, heroes, and events in the fight for Black suffrage. This series incorporates social media posts, daily newsletters, and website blog posts to spread the word broadly.

In addition to 11 NEW articles this year, the series is starting off its first 7 days with stories of Black women involved in the Women’s Suffrage Movement in honor of the 100th Year Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, even though many African American women were not able to vote until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

We encourage everyone to share this series to your networks and on social media under the hashtag #VRABlackHistory. You can also tweet us @VRAmatters to share your own facts.

Fought for Rights

Have you ever heard about Captain Paul Cuffee? Cuffee was a sailor, businessman, and abolitionist who sued for the right to vote in 1780, just years after America declared its independence from Britain Portrait of a Black Sailor (Paul Cuffe?) via LACMA Cuffee was born...

Paul Cuffee (1759-1817)

Paul Cuffee (1759-1817)

Paul Cuffee (1759-1817) A man of great energy and resolve, Paul Cuffee was born on the tiny island of Cuttyhunk, eleven miles offshore of New Bedford, MA. He was the seventh of ten children of Kofi Slocum, a freed African slave, and Ruth Moses, a Wampanoag Indian. His...

February 20, 2017- Amelia Platts Boynton Robinson #VRABlackHistory

February 20, 2017- Amelia Platts Boynton Robinson #VRABlackHistory

Today, February 20, 2017. we honorAmelia Platts Boynton Robinson, who ” was a civil rights pioneer who championed voting rights for African Americans.” What better way to honor President’s Day then to honor Amelia Boynton? Boynton was at the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the honored guest of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Boynton was also the honored guest of President Obama in his January 2015 State of the Union address and she marched with him hand-in-hand on the Edmund Pettus Bridge commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Selma-To-Montgomery March.

February 19, 2017- Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) #VRABlackHistory

February 19, 2017- Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) #VRABlackHistory

Today, February 19, 1017, we honor Fannie Lou Hamer, who was a seminal figure in the fight for African American voting rights and political power in the 1960’s. “During the course of her activist career, Hamer was threatened, arrested, beaten, and shot at. But none of these things ever deterred her from her work.”  Although Fannie Lou Hamer came from a poor background and wasn’t highly educated, she was a fierce advocate who was able to galvanize, mobilize, and inspire a movement.

February 16, 2017- Mary Eliza Church Terrell (1863-1954) #VRABlackHistory

February 16, 2017- Mary Eliza Church Terrell (1863-1954) #VRABlackHistory

Today we honor Mary Eliza Church Terrell. Mary was a strong advocate for Black woman suffrage, often highlighting the struggles that Black women had to go through that White women didn’t. Mary did a lot in her life, but her main focus was voting rights, as she recognized and said that she “belonged ‘to the only group in this country that has two obstacles to surmount, both sex and race.’”


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