The Virginia Association of Museums is hosting an online contest for funds to help preserve historic documents. The Prince William County Office of Historic Preservation has submitted some poll books and other voting records from 1902, and they became in the Top Ten eligible to receive preservation funding. Your vote matters, determining which projects receive funding! Citizens can vote once a day before January 24th
In 1902 Virginia passed a new state constitution in its legislature. The primary goal was to limit the
African American vote throughout the state. There were numerous ideas as to how to do this without
violating Federal Law. As a result, the following requirements were added – voters had to be able to fill
out the voter registration form without any assistance, pay the annual poll tax for each of the three
years prior, and to pass a quiz from the registrar on the Virginia State Constitution. The representatives
did not want to disenfranchise poor whites, and thus also added a clause that any veteran of the US or
Confederate military, or their son, was able to waive the above requirements and vote. As result of
these news requirements, more than 88,000 individuals were disenfranchised.
This year, The Prince William County Office of Historic Preservation submitted our 1902 Brentsville Colored and White Poll Books to the Virginia Association of Museums Top 10 Most Endangered Artifacts list, in an effort to bring awareness to these unique and
important objects. We were selected as part of the Top 10, and beginning January 15 there will be public
voting for awards of up to $5,000 in funds for the conservation of these books.
Voting lasts from January 15 – 24 at http://www.vamuseums.org/?page=Top10 – you can vote daily
from each individual computer. There is no restriction on where the computer is, or who you are – each vote counts!