The Right to Vote
The State of Arkansas is Dissolved
In 1867, the state of Arkansas ceased to exist. It was dissolved, as were all states still in rebellion when the Confederate government surrendered in 1865. Readmission to the Union required that the states meet two conditions set by the U.S. Congress.
Congress demanded that the former states write new constitutions that included universal manhood suffrage, ensuring that former slaves had the right to vote. They were also required to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment, which among other things guaranteed all male citizens 21 years and older the right to vote.
The 1868 Constitutional Convention
Arkansas held a constitutional convention in 1868 to write a new constitution that satisfied the requirements set by Congress. Most former Confederates no longer had the right to vote. However, male Freedmen over twenty-one years of age did. For the first time, African American men helped write laws in Arkansas. Two of those men were William H. Grey and James T. White, Baptist ministers from Phillips County.
William Grey and James White
James White and William Grey served as delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Little is known about White, but Grey, who had never been a slave, took a very active role. He had worked for former Virginia Governor
The New Constitution
A new constitution changed Arkansas. It gave African Americans the right to vote, to serve on juries, serve in the militia, and to hold office. It established free public schools for all and provided for a state university. The 1868 Constitution helped make Arkansas the state it is today.
Location. 34° 31.698′ N, 90° 35.209′ W. Marker is in Helena, Arkansas, in Phillips County. Marker is on Cherry St. just north of Porter Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Helena AR 72342, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Live at the Opera House (a few steps from this marker); Civil War Comes to Arkansas (within shouting distance of this marker); Seven Confederate Generals (within shouting distance of this marker); Helena, Arkansas (within shouting distance of this marker); West Helena, Arkansas
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 23, 2012, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 669 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on January 23, 2012, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.