Media: Slideshow

Constitutional Convention of 1867–1868

Poll Book Listing "Colored" Voters in 1867

A Reconstruction–era poll book from Virginia lists the names of the African Americans from the Third Congressional District, in Southampton County, who cast their votes in the October 22, 1867, election "for and against a [constitutional] Convention and for a delegate to the same." The U.S. Army, which oversaw the election, demanded separate poll lists and voting results for black and white citizens. Nearly 98 percent of eligible African American males voted in the county, while only 56 percent of eligible white voters participated. County voters overwhelmingly approved the convention—1,262 (1,242 African Americans and 20 whites) to 612 (all whites).

Created: October 22, 1867

Medium: Handwritten government record

Courtesy of Library of Virginia

Voting for Richmond Delegates to the Convention of 1867–1868

This chart shows the voting breakdown in Richmond for delegates to the Convention of 1867–1868. The slate of five Republican candidates—two African American Radicals and three white men—won the election by securing almost all of the black vote. Compiled by the Richmond Dispatch on October 30, 1867, the chart was published in Richard Lee Morton's The Negro in Virginia Politics, 1865–1902 (1919). Morton noted that 5,382 white voters were registered, compared to 6,284 black voters, leading to "a contest … between the white race and the black race."  

Citation: The Negro in Virginia Politics, 1865–1902, E185.93 .V8 M8 1919, Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

Original Author: Richard Lee Morton

Created: 1919

Medium: Printed page

Courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections

Richmond Radical Republicans at the Convention of 1867–1868

A political cartoon in the Southern Opinion, published on December 7, 1867, mocks the slate of Radical Republicans elected from Richmond to the Convention of 1867–1868, which was then in session. Delegate Lewis Lindsey, a former slave and a professional bandleader, is depicted blowing a horn and dancing barefoot on the "Constitution of District 1." Flanking Lindsey are (at left) James Morrisey, an Irish grocer who clutches a jug of liquor, and the Reverend James Hunnicutt, a Baptist preacher. Joseph Cox, the other African American delegate representing Richmond, stands in back. The satirical caption notes that the fifth delegate, the white judge John Underwood, "has repaired to Morrisey's grocery to get another 'horn'—stimulants having run low."

Original Author: Torsoh, engraver

Created: December 7, 1867

Medium: Engraving

Courtesy of Library of Virginia

The State Convention At Richmond, VA., In Session

An engraving from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, published on February 15, 1868, depicts a working session of the constitutional convention that met in Richmond from December 3, 1867, to April 17, 1868. In the statewide election of delegates, African American males successfully voted for the first time; about two dozen black delegates were elected. Radical Republicans sympathetic to African American interests dominated the convention. On the final day of the convention the delegates approved a new constitution, which included among its reforms universal manhood suffrage, the establishment of a public school system, and more elective local offices. On July 6, 1869, voters ratified the constitution but rejected two clauses that would have disfranchised many Virginians who had supported the Confederacy.

Citation: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, AP2 .L42, Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

Original Author: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper

Created: February 15, 1868

Medium: Engraving

Courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections

Zoom In
  • Poll Book Listing "Colored" Voters in 1867

    A Reconstruction–era poll book from Virginia lists the names of the African Americans from the Third Congressional District, in Southampton County, who cast their votes in the October 22, 1867, election "for and against a [constitutional] Convention and for a delegate to the same." The U.S. Army, which oversaw the election, demanded separate poll lists and voting results for black and white citizens. Nearly 98 percent of eligible African American males voted in the county, while only 56 percent of eligible white voters participated. County voters overwhelmingly approved the convention—1,262 (1,242 African Americans and 20 whites) to 612 (all whites).

    Created: October 22, 1867

    Medium: Handwritten government record

    Courtesy of Library of Virginia

  • Voting for Richmond Delegates to the Convention of 1867–1868

    This chart shows the voting breakdown in Richmond for delegates to the Convention of 1867–1868. The slate of five Republican candidates—two African American Radicals and three white men—won the election by securing almost all of the black vote. Compiled by the Richmond Dispatch on October 30, 1867, the chart was published in Richard Lee Morton's The Negro in Virginia Politics, 1865–1902 (1919). Morton noted that 5,382 white voters were registered, compared to 6,284 black voters, leading to "a contest … between the white race and the black race."  

    Citation: The Negro in Virginia Politics, 1865–1902, E185.93 .V8 M8 1919, Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

    Original Author: Richard Lee Morton

    Created: 1919

    Medium: Printed page

    Courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections

  • Richmond Radical Republicans at the Convention of 1867–1868

    A political cartoon in the Southern Opinion, published on December 7, 1867, mocks the slate of Radical Republicans elected from Richmond to the Convention of 1867–1868, which was then in session. Delegate Lewis Lindsey, a former slave and a professional bandleader, is depicted blowing a horn and dancing barefoot on the "Constitution of District 1." Flanking Lindsey are (at left) James Morrisey, an Irish grocer who clutches a jug of liquor, and the Reverend James Hunnicutt, a Baptist preacher. Joseph Cox, the other African American delegate representing Richmond, stands in back. The satirical caption notes that the fifth delegate, the white judge John Underwood, "has repaired to Morrisey's grocery to get another 'horn'—stimulants having run low."

    Original Author: Torsoh, engraver

    Created: December 7, 1867

    Medium: Engraving

    Courtesy of Library of Virginia

  • The State Convention At Richmond, VA., In Session

    An engraving from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, published on February 15, 1868, depicts a working session of the constitutional convention that met in Richmond from December 3, 1867, to April 17, 1868. In the statewide election of delegates, African American males successfully voted for the first time; about two dozen black delegates were elected. Radical Republicans sympathetic to African American interests dominated the convention. On the final day of the convention the delegates approved a new constitution, which included among its reforms universal manhood suffrage, the establishment of a public school system, and more elective local offices. On July 6, 1869, voters ratified the constitution but rejected two clauses that would have disfranchised many Virginians who had supported the Confederacy.

    Citation: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, AP2 .L42, Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

    Original Author: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper

    Created: February 15, 1868

    Medium: Engraving

    Courtesy of University of Virginia Special Collections