African Americans and the Vote: Celebrating Black History Month

Since President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, every American president has endorsed a theme for Black History Month. This year, the theme is “African Americans and the Vote,” in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women’s suffrage and the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment giving black men the right to vote in 1870. Our illustrators pay tribute to the countless brilliant African Americans that fought for the universal right to vote and continue to stand up for equality across all industries in our nation today.

Harriet Tubman, Abolitionist and political activist
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
Illustration by Mark Fredrickson

Madam CJ Walker, Entrepreneur
“I am not satisfied in making money for myself. I endeavor to provide employment for hundreds of the women of my race.”
Illustration by Daniel Hertzberg

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Leader of the Civil Rights Movement
“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”
Illustrated by PJ Loughran

Barack Obama, 44th President
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Illustration by Nigel Buchanan

Michelle Obama, Former First Lady
“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”
Illustration by Bruce Morser

Maya Angelou, Poet
“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill/of things unknown but longed for still/and his tune is heard on the distant hill/for the caged birds sings of freedom.”
Illustration by John Jay Cabuay

Spike Lee, Filmmaker
“I think it is very important that films make people look at what they’ve forgotten.”
Illustration by Sean McCabe

Mavis Staples, Gospel Singer
“My purpose: to lift your spirit and to motivate you.”
Illustration by David Brinley

Serena Williams, Tennis Player
“You have to believe in yourself when no one else does.”
Illustration by Nigel Buchanan

Zadie Smith, Novelist
“You must live life with the full knowledge that your actions will remain. We are creatures of consequence.”
Illustration by Peter and Maria Hoey