Discrimination and Voting Rights

  • The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the right to vote

shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, colour or previous condition of servitude

  • Many states introduced poll taxes and literacy tests to prevent African Americans voting
  • They had to prove they could read but because there weren’t many good schools for African American children not many people could pass this test
  • It was made harder because extracts of text were chosen for black people to read that were more difficult than those given to white people
  • Some of the tests included unanswerable questions such as ‘How many bubbles in a bar of soap?’ in order to prevent black people from passing the test and being allowed to vote
  • EVEN IF they did manage to pass the tests they would then be subjected to violence and intimidation to either stop them voting or to make them vote a particular way