Uh… I Claim The Fifth(teenth)

| Tulsa, OK, USA | Friendly | January 26, 2016

(I am playing a trivia game with others. The question asks us all our best guess as to when black people had the right to vote recognized. I am laying out the answers and sorting them.)

Me: “Okay, we have 1915. 1915? Okay, and 1940? 1980? 1965. 1868, 1945, and… 1958? Okay. Everyone place your bets.”

(Players put their bets, most on 1965. I’m totally bewildered, but I drop all I have on 1868, my own guess, and I am worried I might be a year over.)

Me: “Okay, the answer is: 1869.”

Other Players: *hubbub of discussion*

Me: *to Player 1980* “Did you really think black people only got to vote after I started voting?”

Player 1980: “Well, I… I don’t know.”

Me: “Why 1965?”

Player 1965: “Well, you know, that was when all the civil rights happened.”

Me: “Sure, but that do you really think that blacks weren’t voting for Kennedy and Roosevelt and everyone else for the preceding 100 years?”

Player 1915: “Well, how did you know 1868?”

Me: “The civil war ended in 1865. I just figured the Constitution was amended in the years following to free the blacks and give them the right to vote. Don’t you guys remember how we got the phrase ‘grandfather clause?’”

(I watch them stare at their toes for a moment.)

Me: “Well, let’s move on.”

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