The Suffrage Spectacle in Virginia

October 26, 1867


Virginia has been subjected to forced "negro" suffrage as they bartered for amnesty while other states such as Ohio still refuse to give suffrage to "colored" men."


The Suffrage Spectacle in Virginia. Whilst Ohio has refused by an immense majority suffrage to the comparatively small number of colored men In her population, Virginia, with her vast body of emancipated slaves, has just been subjected to the experiment of enforced negro suffrage in an election for a convention to form the organic law of the Commonwealth. We are much mistaken if the parade of returns from that election, and the figures, facts, and incidents connected with it do not greatly accelerate the re-action at the North which has been manifested in the late elections in northern States. The spectacle which has been exhibited in the Virginia election may well cause all men of any capacity of reason and forecast, even in the Radical ranks, to pause and reflect what if to be the end of such things. What we have just seen in Virginia is a solid organization of blacks, as completely under the control of their leaders as an array under its general in time of war, not only marching to the polls to vote down conservative intelligence, but to vote down all moderate meu, including those well known :u the prominent Union men of the State, and literally to hunt down, to pelt with stones and threaten to hang those of their own color who attempted to vote the Conservative ticket, and furiously to assault the police when they endeavored to ' protect Conservative men of their own color from their violence. One illustration, out of many, of the manner in which the leaders of the blacks in Virginia have compelled their followers to draw the line between white and black, and make allegiance to one Hunnicutt, an agrarian while Radical, instead-of Union I principles, the standard of qualification in the late election of delegates to the convention, is the defeat of Franklin Stearns, Esq., in the county of Henrico. Mr. Stearns is a northern man by birth, an original Union man of the strongest kind, a gentleman of high character, great energy. and line business talents, and has large interests identified with the welfare of Richmond and Virginia. This gentleman, reorganized as one of the most influential Republicans of Virginia, has been beaten by the president of a local negro league, who is understood not to have received a white vote in the county. Mr. Stearns had been
About this article

Contributed By

Komal Deol




“The Suffrage Spectacle in Virginia,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed November 26, 2022,