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Battles for the Ballot: New Jersey Voting Rights, Then and Now

November 13, 2020

2020 New Jersey History Conference

Battles for the Ballot: New Jersey Voting Rights, Then and Now

Virtual Event

Friday, November 13, 2020

The New Jersey Historical Commission (NJHC), a division of the New Jersey Department of State, will host the 2020 New Jersey History Conference, Battles for the Ballot, virtually on Friday, November 13, 2020. The history of voting rights and suffrage in New Jersey is one of competing visions of who deserves a voice in American society. For centuries, activists, policymakers, and everyday people have fought to define that vision, especially on the basis of race and gender. As New Jersey marks the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment—against the backdrop of a presidential election year and a global pandemic—Battles for the Ballot will explore how the right to vote has changed over time and the meaning of participation and representation in a democracy. Registration is now open!

The 2020 keynote speakers are:

  • Ari Berman is a Senior Reporter for Mother Jones, Reporting Fellow at Type Media Center, winner of an Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media, and author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in AmericaHerding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, and the forthcoming Minority Rule.
  • Ryan P. Haygood is the President & CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and a nationally respected civil rights lawyer who has litigated some of the most important civil and voting rights cases of our time.
  • Martha S. Jones is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University. She is a legal and cultural historian whose work examines how Black Americans have shaped the story of American democracy. Professor Jones is the author of Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America and Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Fought for Rights for All.

A virtual book signing will follow the keynote panel. To preorder signed books, click here. In some cases, customers will receive signed bookplates separately, to be inserted into the books.

Check out the 2020 NJ History Conference Preliminary Program to learn more about the schedule, panel sessions, and additional conference offerings.

The 2020 event is co-sponsored by the Alice Paul InstituteNJ Women Vote: The 19th Amendment at 100, the New Jersey State Archives, and New Jersey Digital Highway. For more information and updates, please visit history.nj.gov and follow the NJHC on Twitter @OfficialNJHC and Facebook @NewJerseyHistoricalCommission.


November 13, 2020
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