Thursday Open Line

The 15th Amendment to the Constitution declared the right 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.” It was ratified on February 3, 1870. The new, affirmed civil right was first exercised on this date that year, though in a decidedly minor electoral matter. Thomas Peterson-Mundy, a former slave, was the first African-American to exercise the franchise, casting a vote in favor of revising the charter for Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He, himself, was elected to a committee to draft the change. In the nonpresidential election of 2014, 11 million blacks cast votes, a participation rate of almost 40 percent. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at <>.