The year 2020 marked the anniversaries of two constitutional amendments, the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) and Nineteenth Amendment (1920). This guide provides digital resources for researching and interpreting primary resources related to these two constitutional amendments. In addition to research, the guide includes teaching resources, lesson plans, potential discussion questions, and suggestions for integrating the content into the classroom.
15th Amendment Resources
Ratified in 1870, the 15th Amendment gave African Americans the right to vote. However, for nearly a century after its ratification, many African Americans were denied the right to vote. This section includes resources for researching and presenting primary source materials about the 15th Amendment. These resources include primary source documents and photographs about prominent activists, the passage of the amendment and its impact, and the struggles newly enfranchised citizens faced when trying to exercise their right to vote.
- “15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Primary Documents in American History” is a research guide developed by the Library of Congress. This guide features digital access to a wide variety of primary source materials associated with the 15th Amendment, including government documents, newspaper articles, and pamphlets. It also features links to additional resources as well as print suggestions for research.
- Curated by the Digital Public Library of America, this "15th Amendment Primary Source Set" is a collection of primary source documents related to the 15th Amendment. It also features links for additional resources as well as a teaching guide with discussion questions and classroom activities.
Women’s Suffrage Resources
For decades, women fought for the right to vote in many ways from picketing to lobbying lawmakers. This section features resources for researching and presenting primary sources about the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. These resources provide background into the movement, the suffragettes who organized and campaigned for their rights, the strategies they used, and how they exerted their political influence.
- “Her Hat Was in the Ring” is a growing database of women who ran for public office prior to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. At this time, the database has biographical records of 3,985 women and the more than 5,000 campaigns they ran. The database includes biographical information for the women and allows for search by name, state, party affiliation, and office.
- “Deeds, Not Words” is a digital exhibit presented by Cleveland State University that features images of early suffragettes, women voting, activists promoting the cause, and more. These images are taken from the Cleveland Memory Project and the project also includes links to additional resources for researching suffrage.
- “Miss Alice Paul” is a collection of virtual presentations, digital documents, and portraits to highlight the life of feminist figure and suffragette, Alice Paul. The website also includes links to videos, websites, and interviews that can help students make connections between the life of Alice Paul and the feminist movement.
Lesson Plans & Syllabi
This section includes some pre-made lesson plans, suggestions for integrating content, and syllabi suggestions related to the 15th and 19th Amendments.
- “Shall Not Be Denied” is a digital exhibit created by the Library of Congress to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment. Spanning more than a century, this exhibit highlights the suffrage movement and how it changed over time, as well as providing vignettes of prominent activists. The exhibit includes links to additional resources as well as lesson plans for instructors.
- “Visualizing Votes for Women” is a digital exhibit that explores the history of women’s suffrage through historical artifacts and every day objects. In addition to visualizing the history of suffrage, the exhibit includes links to additional readings as well as teaching resources and lesson plans for K-12 and higher education for suffrage.
- Partnering with Color of Change, the Zinn Education Project created the “150th Anniversary of the 15th Amendment Teaching Guide”. Together, they have created a voting rights toolkit and a three-lesson unit plan for instructors teaching the 15th Amendment and voting rights. This teaching guide also includes links to primary sources, videos for classroom use, and additional readings.