Suffrage: "Full suffrage became a political issue for Chicago in the 1860s. On the eve of the Civil War, Illinois was one of seven Midwestern states that denied the vote to African American residents. After the Fifteenth Amendment enfranchised African Americans in Illinois in 1870, black Chicagoans moved slowly into politics and political officeholding. Chicagoan John Jones, who had led the fight to remove all state and local restrictions on African Americans, was elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners in 1871, the first black man to hold elective office in the state, and John W. E. Thomas of Chicago was elected to the state legislature in 1876."
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