Black Suffrage in Minnesota, 1868

From their state's admission to the Union until the mid-1860s, a majority of Minnesotans advocated the abolition of slavery in the South. Black suffrage, however, did not enjoy the same support. Minnesota's black citizens paid taxes, fought in wars, and fostered their communities. But they could not vote, hold political office, or serve on juries. This continued until 1868 when an amendment to the state's constitution approved suffrage for all non-white men.

Black and white print of the first capitol building of Minnesota Territory c.1849.

Central House, St. Paul - "First Capitol" of Minnesota Territory

Black and white print of the first capitol building of Minnesota Territory c.1849.

Carte-de-visite photograph of Charles E. Flandrau taken by Whitney's Gallery in December of 1862. Flandrau served on the Minnesota State Supreme Court from 1858 to 1864.

Charles E. Flandrau

Carte-de-visite photograph of Charles E. Flandrau taken by Whitney's Gallery in December of 1862. Flandrau served on the Minnesota State Supreme Court from 1858 to 1864.

Pastel drawing on paper made c.1900 of John Ball Brisbin, the St. Paul lawyer who defended Ann Bilansky in her 1859 murder trial, as he appeared c.1860.

John Ball Brisbin

Pastel drawing on paper made c.1900 of John Ball Brisbin, the St. Paul lawyer who defended Ann Bilansky in her 1859 murder trial, as he appeared c.1860.

Oil on canvas painting (1888) by Alexis Jean Fournier of the Ramsey County courthouse in St. Paul as it appeared at the time of Ann Bilansky's trial in 1859.

Ramsey County courthouse

Oil on canvas painting (1888) by Alexis Jean Fournier of the Ramsey County courthouse in St. Paul as it appeared at the time of Ann Bilansky's trial in 1859.

Execution of Ann Bilansky, 1860

Ann Bilansky was the only woman executed by the action of Minnesota courts. She died in 1860, but doubts about her guilt remain alive.

Black and white print of the Minnesota State Capitol, c.1900.

Minnesota State Capitol

Black and white print of the Minnesota State Capitol, c.1900, at Tenth and Wabasha Streets in St. Paul. This is where the NAAC business sessions were held.

Black and white photograph of Willis A. Gorman, c.1861.

Willis A. Gorman

Willis A. Gorman, c.1861.

Black and white photograph of the Minnesota Senate with Alexander Ramsey and Henry H. Sibley, 1859.

Minnesota Senate with Governors Alexander Ramsey and Henry H. Sibley

Minnesota Senate with Alexander Ramsey and Henry H. Sibley, 1859.

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