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"The Fifteenth Amendment", an 1870 print celebrating the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in February 1870, and the advancements that African-Americans had made as a result of the Civil War.

Portraits in image:

  • At the top corners, President Ulysses S. Grant and Vice President Schuyler Colfax. (The Grant administration was much more satisfactory to African-Americans than the preceding Andrew Johnson administration.)
  • Smaller portraits (inset from the bottom corners) of the deceased white heroes of Black rights, Abraham Lincoln and John Brown.
  • At top center, African-American leaders Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and Hiram Revels.

Vignettes in image (counterclockwise from top left):

1. "Reading Emancipation Proclamation"
Raggedly-dressed black man holding document signed "LINCOLN".
2. "Life, Liberty, and Independence"
Sword and olive wreath.
3. "We Unite the Bonds of Fellowship"
Three men dressed in sashes and aprons of black fraternal organizations, with corresponding banners.
4. "Our charter of Rights - The Holy Scriptures"
Book labelled "Holy Bible".
5. "Education will prove the Equality of the Races"
Schoolroom scene with Black woman schoolteacher.
6. "Liberty Protects the Marriage Altar"
Double wedding scene.
7. "Celebration of Fifteenth Amendment, May 19th, 1870"
(at center) Large vignette of black parade with drums and mounted men leading marchers on foot, viewed by a friendly white audience.
8. "The Ballot Box is open to us"
Black man casting secret ballot.
9. "Our representative Sits in the National Legislature"
Floor of Congress scene, presumably depicting Sen. Hiram Revels sitting at his desk as other Blacks watch from the galleries.
10. "The Holy Ordinances of Religion are free"
Black church scene with Black preacher.
11. "Freedom unites the Family Circle"
Domestic scene.
12. "We will protect our Country as it defends our Rights"
Black military unit parading past cheering white spectators.
13. "We till our own Fields"
Two black men reaping grain.
14. "The Right of Citizens of the U.S. to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the U.S. or any State on account of Race, Color, or [previous] Condition of Servitude - 15th Amendment"
Quill pen(?) and scroll of Constitution of the United States.

Edited from image http://memory.loc.gov/master/pnp/cph/3g00000/3g02000/3g02300/3g02399u.tif on the Library of Congress website.

Bibliographic information found at LoC site:

TITLE: The Fifteenth amendment

CALL NUMBER: PGA - Kelly (T.)--Fifteenth amendment (A size) (A size) [P&P]

REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZC4-2399 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-36272 (b&w film copy neg.)

SUMMARY: Parade surrounded by portraits and vignettes of Black life, illustrating rights granted by the 15th amendment.

MEDIUM: 1 print on wove paper : lithograph with watercolor ; 25.2 x 31.4 cm.

CREATED/PUBLISHED: N.Y. : Published & printed by Thomas Kelly, 17 Barclay St., c1870.

CREATOR: Kelly, Thomas, fl. 1871-1874.

NOTES: A reduced version of Kelly's large print "The Fifteenth Amendment, Celebrated May 19th 1870" (no. 1870-4), with a key to the picture added in the lower margin. Published in: American political prints, 1766-1876 / Bernard F. Reilly. Boston : G.K. Hall, 1991, entry 1870-5.


  • African Americans (portrayed), in the U.S. military.
  • Baltimore, Md.
  • Brown, John.
  • Colfax, Schuyler.
  • Constitutional amendments, fifteenth.
  • Delany, Martin Robinson.
  • Douglass, Frederick.
  • Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Grant, Ulysses S., presidency.
  • House of Representatives.
  • Masons.
  • Revels, Hiram.
  • Schools, for African Americans.
  • Voters and voting.


  • African Americans--Civil rights--1870.
  • Liberty--1870.

FORMAT: Lithographs Hand-colored 1870.

REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

DIGITAL ID: (color film copy transparency) cph 3g02399 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3g02399 (b&w film copy neg.) cph 3a36683 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a36683

CARD #: 93510386


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