In chapter 6 of your Fitzgerald text you learned about how in 1964, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized a campaign to dramatically increase black voter registration in Mississippi. Mississippi like many other states, had historically excluded most blacks from voting. Between the 1890s to the 1960s, one of the ways in which state governments disenfranchised blacks was with literacy tests.
This is a link to the 1964 Louisiana literacy test that was disproportionately administered to black voters. Go ahead and attempt it. NOTE: Any “wrong” answer means that you have failed the test! Remember you have just 10 minutes to complete it!
If you flunked this test don’t feel too badly! Some Harvard students attempted this test as part of a project that raises awareness about barriers to voting. They all failed. Follow this link to hear their comments about the literacy tests. One student’s comment at the 4:32 mark is particularly poignant.
The panelists and hosts in this FOX News talk show discuss the idea of requiring passing citizenship tests to graduate high school and to vote.
For this week’s Discussion Board:
Express the extent to which you agree or disagree with the sentiments voiced by the panelists?
What would be the implications of state governments requiring civic tests or voter IDs to vote?