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Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Revisiting The Voting Rights Act: Could You Pass A 1960s Literacy Test?

When the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act last month, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the watershed 1964 law had worked as intended: Racial discrimination had decreased and a record number of voters were now people of color. But how well do we remember the inequalities the law was protecting against? A leader in the civil rights movement, Rep. John Lewis had a front-row seat to the tactics used to keep black people out of the voting booth. Physical intimidation, poll taxes, and literacy tests were all bent to the task. Segregationists designed literacy tests to be deliberately confusing. They imposed tight time constraints to increase errors. "Black people with Ph.D. and M.A. degrees were routinely told they did not read well enough to pass the... Read More →
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