Momentous election puts a spotlight on Maryland’s history of intolerance

BALTIMORE — A momentous election victory on November 8 cemented Gov. Wes Moore’s position as a history-maker.

That’s when the 44-year-old politician became the first Black governor elected in the state of Maryland.

The historic election put a spotlight on Maryland’s long and complicated racial history.

“His election is a culmination of hundreds of years of struggle to secure not only the vote for African Americans but the ability to hold elective office and to rise to the highest elected office in Maryland,” Preservation Maryland’s executive director Nicholas Redding told WJZ. 

He said the symbolic distinction was long overdue.

“It’s important to put today in context and what it means and sort of looking back at the long ark, not only of national history, but of Maryland history, and how long and how much effort and toil and struggle it took to get here, and what a day of celebration this is,” Redding said.

On the day the 15th Amendment was adopted and ratified, celebrations broke out across Maryland.

The amendment made it possible for African-American men to vote and use political power to gain representation.

Redding also noted that the nation just passed the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

The anniversary is notable because, during this election cycle, Marylanders voted into power Aruna Miller, who is the first woman of color and the first immigrant to serve as the state’s lieutenant governor.

“So it was only 100 years ago, perhaps even in the memory of some still living human beings, that women weren’t afforded the right to vote here in the United States,” he said.

Moore and Miller’s rise to power serves as a catalyst for progress in racial equality and reshaping the future of politics.

“There is really an amazing and rich story of the African-American community’s perseverance and determination to make sure they not only earned that right, but they kept that right,” Redding said.

Additionally, the election proves that Maryland is embracing diversity.

“As a historian, we mark the calendar, and we mark the date of history by firsts,” he said. “We look back to 1870 as that first moment when Black male suffrage was realized in this nation. And someday in the future, we will look back to 2022 as the first time an African American was elected governor.”

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