MEDIA
The Fifteenth Amendment. Celebrated May 19th 1870.
Original Author: James C. Beard, artist; Thomas Kelly, publisher
Created: 1870
Medium: Color lithograph

The Fifteenth Amendment. Celebrated May 19th 1870.

An 1870 lithograph celebrates the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, which accords male citizens the right to vote regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. At center, the artist depicts a parade through the streets of Baltimore that was held on May 19, 1870, three months after Congress ratified the amendment. Above the parade scene is a vignette honoring three influential Black abolitionists: left to right, Martin R. Delany, Frederick Douglass, and Hiram Revels. Other figures sympathetic to Black liberties are celebrated with oval portraits, including President Ulysses S. Grant at upper left; Vice President Schuyler Colfax at upper right; President Abraham Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation, at bottom left; and the abolitionist John Brown, at bottom right.

Various scenes with accompanying captions illustrate the benefits of the new amendment. From left to right at bottom, a Black minister preaches to a congregation ("the holy ordinances of religion are free"); a Black legislator works at his desk in Congress ("our representative sits in the national legislature"); a Black man casts his vote ("the ballot box is open to us"); a Black man and woman marry ("liberty protects the mariage [sic] alter [sic]"); and a Black teacher instructs her students ("education will prove the equality of the races").     

James C. Beard created the original design for this print, which was published in New York.

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