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Black Male Suffrage in Wisconsin at Central

Monday, February 17, 2020 - 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Categories: History/Genealogy

University of Wisconsin Department of Afro-American Studies Professor Christy Clark-Pujara presents the history of African-American voting rights in Wisconsin. On October 31, 1865 Ezekiel Gillespie, a black Milwaukee resident, went to "the place of registration on the flats in the Seventh ward" and asked that his name be added to the list of eligible voters, he was refused. The next day he went to the polls to vote. He was turned away. Gillespie went on to successfully sue the state for the right to vote. Historians have noted Wisconsinites' defiance of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law and highlighted the Republican Party's commitment to black suffrage. Yet, the efforts of antislavery and abolitionist Wisconsinites failed to alter the political marginality that black Wisconsinites faced in the founding decades of the state.

Location: Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room

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