On the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment, we celebrate one of the most fundamental and sacred rights of our Republic—the right to vote.

Our Nation was founded upon the belief that every citizen is endowed with certain unalienable rights from our Creator.  Following the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, the Congress worked to ensure that “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” could no longer be used as grounds to deny an American citizen the right to participate in our democracy.  This historic amendment granted African American men the right to vote and allowed them a voice in our great American Experiment.

The ratification of the 15th Amendment was a tremendous step towards a more just society.  Fifty years later, with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, African American women also secured the right to vote, alongside other adult women.

Today, as we recognize the remarkable progress we have made as a Nation in forming a more perfect Union, we acknowledge the challenges that minorities and women have overcome and the significant contributions they continue to make in advancing liberty and building a stronger America.