Monday, March 10, 2008

On this day

On March 10, ...
... 1913 (95 years ago today), Harriet Tubman died in Auburn, New York. She'd been born into slavery in Maryland about 1820, and was given the name Araminta Ross. On marrying a free African-American man in 1844, she took his surname. She also took the 1st name of her mother, Harriet. Fearing in 1849 that she was to be sold to another slaveowner, she followed the North Star to escape to Philadelphia. Thereafter she made nearly a score of trips into slave territory to lead others to freedom on the Underground Railroad -- a feat for which she was known by the honorific of "Moses." Once Civil War broke out, Harriet Tubman (above) "worked for the Union as a cook, a nurse, and even a spy." In later life she agitated for women's suffrage.
... 1971, by a vote of 94-0, the U.S. Senate approved a proposal to amend the Constitution to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 in state and local as well as in federal elections. The U.S. House of Representatives would approve the plan in less than a fortnight, thus sending it to the states for ratification, which was completed on July 1, 1971. The proposal then became the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Although the "youth vote," as it's called, at times has been underwhelming, this segment of the electorate has turned out in large numbers and played a critical role in the 2008 presidential election cycle.

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