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Learning the History Behind the Black Vote

February, 2020
  • From left: QCC student Destiny Fausta, Ryan Rios, Bridgett Hylton, Esq., Professor Brenda Safford and President Luis Pedraja
    From left: QCC student Destiny Fausta, Ryan Rios, Bridgett Hylton, Esq., Professor Brenda Safford and President Luis Pedraja

February is Black History Month and at QCC on February 25, the college’s Black Student Union and the League of Women Voters in Worcester hosted a program by Bridgett Hylton, Esq. that highlighted the history of the black vote. Ms. Hylton is the assistant director of the Counseling and Assessment Clinic of Worcester, a clinic that provides mental health services to the residents of Central Massachusetts. She attended Dartmouth College and received her law degree from Harvard Law.

QCC students Ryan Rios, president of the Black Student Union, and Destiny Fausta, vice president of the Black Student Union, introduced Ms. Hylton, who represents the League of Women Voters in the Worcester Area and gave a bit of background on the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The program began with a video, “Bridging History: Selma and the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” describing what has historically been known as “Bloody Sunday.” Out of these injustices came the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which created a significant change in the status of African Americans throughout the South. The Voting Rights Act prohibited the states from using literacy tests and other methods of excluding African Americans from voting. Prior to this, there was only an estimated 23 percent of voting-age African Americans who were registered nationally, but by 1969 that number had jumped to 61 percent.

“Ms. Hylton shared a timeline of events to help students understand how important voting is in our country and how their vote can help with our identity, decision-making and judgment. History provides models of good and responsible behavior, as well as teaching us how to learn from the mistakes of others,” said Associate Professor of Human Services Brenda Safford, who is also the advisor for the Black Student Union.

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