African American History in Meridian
MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - Ninety six (96) years ago on August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified granting women the right to vote.
In 1869 Congress passed the 15th Amendment granting black men the right to vote but it wasn't until almost 100 years later when the voting rights act was signed into law that African Americans had barriers removed so they could exercise that right.
In 1972 the first African Americans were elected to Congress. In Meridian Township, the first African American to serve on the board was Gilbert Sherman when he was appointed in 1999 to fill a remaining term in the Township Treasurers seat. That following year, he was defeated by Republican Candidate Tom Klunzinger for Township Treasurer. Gilbert Sherman was the first African American male to run for a Meridian Township Board seat. In 2012, the first African American male was elected to serve on the Township Board; Milton L. Scales for Township Trustee. He faces Democratic Challenger Ron Styka in the Primary Election for Township Supervisor.
This election season is the first time in Meridian Township history an African American female is running for a Meridian Township Board seat; Democratic Candidate Patricia Jackson, who is running for Township Trustee.
There are six (6) candidates running on the Democratic Trustee side of the ticket in the August 2 Primary. Voters will elect four (4) out of six (6) of these candidates to move on to the general election; Phil Deschaine, Brett DeGroff, Patricia Jackson, Dan Opsommer, Kathy Ann Sundland, and John Veenstra. Four (4) of these candidates will move on to the November General Election and face three (3) Republican Trustee Candidates for one of four Township Trustee seats.
Watch HOMTV election coverage Tuesday night to watch the results come in.