Celebrating the Fifteenth Amendment, 1870 This lithograph depicts a celebration in Baltimore on May 15, 1870. With perhaps 200,000 people attending, the grand parade and orations marked passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, which enfranchised men irrespective of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The heroes depicted at the top are Martin Delany, the first black man to become an officer in the U.S. Army; abolitionist Frederick Douglass, born in slavery on Maryland’s eastern shore; and Mississippi senator Hiram Rhodes Revels. The images at the bottom carried the following captions: “Liberty Protects the Marriage Altar,” “The Ballot Box is open to us,” and “Our representative Sits in the National Legislature.” Such lithographs, widely printed and sold, capture the pride, hope, and optimism of Reconstruction — but the optimism was not to last. Library of Congress.