Take the impossible "Literacy" test Louisiana gave black voters in 1964



How the Republican party went from Lincoln to Trump

Number 12 appears to be constructed so that wherever you draw the line, some form of unfair application of an unstated rule will always mark you down.
Quite the glyph.


That would be a feature, not a bug.


I used this test on some of my students while studying civil rights. Opened their eyes, reinforced in my mind just how messed up things really were, and provided for a good class discussion. It’s startling to think that these tests weren’t given all that long ago.


Who says “draw a line around?” Wouldn’t that be easier described as “circle?”


In that it is an internally instantiated example of what the test symbolises in the first place; yes.


That’s the trap.


I think this could still be a valuable test. A way to sort out undesirables who have no business participating in American politics. Those rascals who desire nothing more than to corrupt our way of living. I’m of course talking about having the candidates for office take the test.


Those racist authorities were lingering old school Democrats, as were the pointy hood maniacs like Senator Robert Byrd. Democrats have always been the party of labor and keeping freed slaves and their descendants from competing for jobs meant their official party platform was astonishingly racist for decades exactly during the period that propagandists now try to attach to southern Republicanism now that a great economic shift converted the South to conservatism that pivoted in earnest indeed around 1964 when this test was still in use. It’s been years since I read up on this, but a quick link is here: http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/pcism/sad_history.htm


20 gives me the confusions. Is it that I should spell forward backward (drawrof) or that I should spell backwards, forward (backwards)?


It might be fun to troll republicans by posting on some conservative sites that “democrats plan to get even with republicans by passing laws requiring registered republicans to take this literacy test at the polls”. They believe some crazy a$$ stuff already, why not this?


The links within the Slate article eventually lead to this site: http://www.crmvet.org/nars/schwartz.htm#corelittest It does a good job explaining how vague some of the questions can be.


That’s a pretty broad brush you’re toting there. Like political parties, the Klan has had a number of variants. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan (you should check out some more links that have some system of peer review…)

Strom Thurmond used to be a Democrat as well and I’m pretty sure that his shift to the Republican side mirrored the political movement down there at the same time. But if you were to imply to him that the modern Democratic party was similar to his thoughts he would have brained you like Preston Brooks.


What propagandists are trying to do what now? Southern Republicanism has looked pretty bad for a good while; I don’t know why an anti-Republican propagandist would bother trying to distort their pre-1964 record.


Because most of the people who lived through it are dying off and history can Be What You Make It! ™


Did everyone have to take these tests or was there a way for whites to get out of it? I look at this test and honestly it takes me a minute or two just to wrap my head around what the question is asking - no way I could do this in 10 minutes.


“supposedly applicable to both white and black prospective voters who couldn’t prove a certain level of education but in actuality disproportionately administered to black voters”


They always talk about literacy tests in our American history classes, but I never had a teacher actually show one like this. Wow. That’s a real eye-opener.


Says on the top of the test it had to be taken by anyone who could not prove a 5th grade education. I’m sure there was always an easy way for a white person to prove a 5th grade education and very difficult for a person of color. I assume they didn’t care if a white person without a 5th grade education could vote or not.


I always thought a good test for Texan gubernatorial candidates would be to swim in the Houston Ship Channel, or at the very least, Galveston Bay.