For the ones arguing about lines, a line is a continuous fluid mark, a straight line, by it’s name is straight. One way literacy tests operated was by virtue of something called a grandfather clause. To keep voting limited to whites only, states used a variety of Jim Crow voting tests and created requirements that voters had to meet. The federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation. ; a test of one's ability to read and write. Simply by refusing to let a literate person help voters to fill out ballots, states made it impossible for illiterate blacks or whites to vote. The result was that by the early 20th century nearly all African Americans were disfranchised. Poll taxes and literacy tests are part of the ugly side of American history. This process was often referred to as a "literacy test," a term that had two different meanings — one specific and one general. In theory, Southern states couldn't stop black Americans from voting. Literacy tests, introduced in 1890, were not deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court until the 1960s. Optional- Copy of the Louisiana Literacy Test 5). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided that literacy tests used as a qualification for voting in federal elections be administered wholly in writing and only to persons who had completed at least six years of formal education. Some states used an actual reading test. After the Civil War, many states enacted literacy tests as a voting requirement. Below are questions adapted from the “literacy test” given to black voters by the state of Louisiana in the 1960s. Citing an old English legal principle, literacy test promoters argued that if a person was not sufficiently educated, his vote could be too easily manip… In practice they were used to disqualify immigrants and the poor, who had less education. Southern states adopted the tactic after Reconstruction. The lefties howled about how literacy tests were, for decades, used by Southern racists to keep blacks from voting. In some states, the poll tax cut the black vote in half. Jim Crow laws were state and local laws and statutes enacted by southern and border states in the late 1870s to deny Blacks the right to vote in the South following Reconstruction (1865-1877).. The tests varied from state to state, but typically involved a multiple choice exam on state and federal politics and history, and a literacy test. Other tactics for protecting white supremacy included arbitrary voter registration rules and violent threats targeting blacks who voted. Poll taxes and literacy tests were seemingly race-neutral measures for shutting out black voters. Even so, states with poll taxes and literacy tests struggled to hold on to them. Since 1855, Connecticut’s state constitution had required adults to pass a literacy test and a one-year residency rule in order to qualify as a voter. Civil Rights Movement Veterans - CORE, NAACP, SCLC, SNCC. _____ _____ 3. Poll taxes and literacy tests are part of the ugly side of American history. State grandfather clauses gave some whites a free pass. Prior to this, individual cases actually ruled that literacy tests were not necessarily violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees all citizens the right to vote. By 1904, every former Confederate state had adopted poll taxes, sometimes mistakenly called a poll test. Copy of Alabama Literacy Test (1965) 4). In the South they were used to prevent African Americans from registering to vote. In Voting Rights Act Poll taxes, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, whites-only primaries, and other measures disproportionately disqualified African Americans from voting. From literacy tests to voter ID laws, the right to vote remains threatened. The test assessed a voter's ability to read and write or to read and understand any … If a person is indicted for a crime, name two rights which he has. If their ancestors had been registered voters before the Civil War, then they didn't have to pay the tax. Presented as a means for assessing whether voters were educated enough to vote, literacy tests and other methods were designed for a single purpose: to stop Black Americans from voting. In 1870, the United States passed the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right to vote regardless of race. They had 10 minutes to complete 30 … Many states adopted literacy tests that aspiring voters had to complete. Louisiana Literacy Test ~ 1964? Interestingly, the first known literacy test did not originate in the South. Being unable to read was a lot more common in the 19th and early 20th centuries than today. Many blacks and many poor white voters couldn't afford to pay the tax. However, in 1965, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act, it became illegal to use literacy tests as a way to disqualify voters who were otherwise qualified. Prior to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, many southern (and some western) states had devised "literacy tests" and other voting requirements whose primary purpose was to deny African Americans the vote. Literacy as a requirement for voting The term literacy test or literacy requirement refers to the government practice of testing the literacy of potential citizens at both the federal level and state level. Denying black citizens the vote took away their ability to challenge the system. Author: State of Louisiana Keywords: Civil Rights Movement, Southern Freedom Movement, voting rights, voting rights, literacy test, … See more. Literacy Tests Proponents of tests to prove an applicant’s ability to read and understand English claimed that the exams ensured an educated and informed electorate. People that are voting for anything should be smart enough to comprehend the english language and a simple literacy test shows that you can understand. Alabama Voter Application Form (c. 1965) Alabama Voter Literacy Test (c. 1965) In Alabama before the Voting Rights Act, a typical registration process for an Afro-American citizen went something like this: In the rural counties where most folk lived, you had to go down to the courthouse to register. An Alabama Literacy Test Keeps Black Voters Off the Rolls. %PDF-1.4 %���� While this voting literacy test sought to make sure people were educated enough to vote, it proved In addition to being given to an inordinate number of black voters, the voting literacy test itself was Thankfully, in 1964, the literacy tests were suspended by the Voting Rights Act. Writing utensil *Registration and Literacy Tests are from the following source.. "Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement -- Literacy Tests." Voting Literacy Test (1965) Anonymous Introduction Although African Americans secured the right to vote after the Civil War through the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, southern states moved quickly after Reconstruction to restrict the voting rights of blacks. The 14th Amendment established that black Americans were entitled to equal protection under the law. Skip Navigation. The Argument in Favor of Requiring a Test to Vote Getty Images African Americans, led by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., line up in front of the Dallas County Courthouse in Selma, Alabama to register to vote. These were deliberately written to be difficult, even for people who could read. A Durham, NC resident, Fraser has written about law, starting a business, balancing your budget and fighting evictions, among other legal and financial topics. A sample passage from Alabama’s constitution, which could be part of a literacy test that a would-be black voter might have to read and explain circa 1965: k SECTION 260 The income arising from the sixteenth section trust fund, the surplus revenue fund, until it is called for by the United States The Civil Rights-era law banned discrimination through the use of poll taxes and the application of any "test of device," such as a literacy test to determine whether voters could take part in elections. Though it sounds like a small amount today, it packed a lot more buying power a century ago. In 1870, the United States passed the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right to vote regardless of race. Historically, literacy has been a barrier to voting. As the registrar decided who passed the literacy test, it was easy to refuse blacks and accept whites. The purpose was to exclude persons with minimal literacy, in particular, poor African Americans in the South, from voting. While literacy tests no longer exist, low literacy still remains a barrier to voting. Share on Facebook; Fraser Sherman - Updated October 25, 2018, Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Education, Explore state by state cost analysis of US colleges in an interactive article, Legal Information Institute: 14th Amendment, University of Michigan: Techniques of Direct Disenfranchisement, 1880-1965, National Museum of American History: Poll Taxes, National Center for Education Statistics: Literacy from 1870 to 1979, Slate: Take the Impossible “Literacy” Test Louisiana Gave Black Voters in the 1960s, History, Art & Archives, United States House of Representatives: The 24th Amendment. The Voting Rights Act the following year protected the black vote. In the late 1800’s, southern states administered literacy tests in order to keep racial minorities from voting. Martin Luther King Jr. watched as President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which … In part to curtail the use of literacy tests, Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act of … Completely illiterate, poor whites got the benefit of the same grandfather clause used for the poll tax. 84 0 obj <> endobj 118 0 obj <>/Filter/FlateDecode/ID[<62DE29C887BC47F4AA13CEB4F260293B><85FF15342A1F452EA3EF1F91D67E5DE1>]/Index[84 70]/Info 83 0 R/Length 134/Prev 357666/Root 85 0 R/Size 154/Type/XRef/W[1 2 1]>>stream h�b```g``z���� j� ̀ ��l,'�&-``��l8�����l� ֈl � Ċ F�^5%� �8\y�X1�80avh(d��`�q��`�����c� �. Voter Literacy Test . Generally, literacy tests were labeled as general application laws—meaning every voter would be potentially required to sit for a literacy test in order to vote—but as a matter of practice were only enforced against Black voters. One Louisiana test, for instance, included confusing questions such as "draw a line around the number or letter of this sentence.". Black Americans had more than double the illiteracy rate of whites. It was not until 1964 that these tests were finally outlawed. Take The Literacy Test Given To Black Voters In The 60's . 2. Copy of the Alabama Voter Registration Form 3). _____ Public education _____ Employment _____ Trial by jury _____ Voting . The Louisiana Literacy Test was designed so that the test-takers would pass or fail simply at the discretion of the registrar who administered the test. The 1963 March on Washington was the beginning of the end for institutionalized prejudicial practices at polling locations. By the end of the 19th century, the South had found a work-around: black and white Americans would be "separate but equal," a claim that covered up racial discrimination. As Slate points out, "There was little room for befuddlement. The 1960s drove multiple death blows to "separate but equal." 1. In theory, Southern states couldn't stop black Americans from voting. If you wanted to vote, you had to pay a tax, typically $1 or $2. 2). Which of the following is a right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights? Below are scans of an actual "literacy test" given to black voters by the state of Louisiana in the 1960s. The questions were so imprecisely written that the examiner could decree almost any answer correct or incorrect, at his whim. From the 1965 Alabama Literacy Test . The 24th Amendment made poll taxes unconstitutional in 1964. h�bbd``b`v�@�F �uH0� � �H���X� �#L����������@B�H�T��耔�-�@J��A:�@\�E��l��b:$T�@��0B�H�r2012���8��L�� ޮ� endstream endobj startxref 0 %%EOF 153 0 obj <>stream Literacy tests were introduced into the voting process in the South with the Jim Crow laws. Prior to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965, Southern states maintained elaborate voter registration procedures deliberately designed to deny the vote to nonwhites. Two years after that historic march, Rev. Can you pass this discriminatory voting literacy test? Literacy test definition, an examination to determine whether a person meets the literacy requirements for voting, serving in the armed forces, etc. Literacy tests were used to keep people of color -- and, sometimes, poor whites -- from voting, and they were administered at the discretion of the officials in charge of voter registration. A literacy test measures a person’s proficiency in reading and writing. Connecticut was the first state to require a literacy test, to keep Irish immigrants from voting. chising success of literacy tests. The 1963 March on Washington led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed discriminatory and prejudicial voting practices in America. Beginning in the 19th century, literacy tests were used in the voter registration process in southern states of the U.S. with the intent to disenfranchise Black voters. Used as a way to prevent Blacks from voting, the required literacy test was just one of the ways to deter Blacks from voting. The system of laws that imposed segregation was known as Jim Crow, after a dimwitted black stage character in the 1830s.
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