Since the birth of the United States, African-Americans have continued the fight for equality in America. From 1865 when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified to the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act, African-Americans have seen an increase in their legal rights; but the laws did not guarantee that they would always receive these rights. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were successes for African-Americans during the late 1800's, granting them citizenship and the right to vote. Although they had achieved these freedoms they were far from receiving equality.
The possibility of equality for African-Americans was set into motion in 1865 with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, followed by the Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. The Thirteenth Amendment states, "Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist with the United states, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2. Congress shall have no power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." In 1868 the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment; "Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."1 And lastly the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, "Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.