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

Ah, yes, Strom Thurmond. Wasn’t he the last man to use the term “nigger lover” on the Senate floor? Or does that repulsive distinction belong to Jesse Helms?

The Democratic Party eventually finished passing the title of “US Champions of Racism” to the Republicans during the early Reagan years, when the soulcage guys “dialed the phonebook” and picked up all the disaffected nutballs that were rolling around loose.


All the same, I can easily see Karl Rove or some other strategist trotting out this test and saying “Look at what the Democrats did. Just look at it.”
(EDIT: spelling)


I’m pretty sure they fought for the “honor,” and since Helms outlived Thurmond he ended up the winner.

But we’d have to check with Thurmond’s interracial daughter to be sure (irony!)

I’m sure he could. And then anyone else gets to trot out, say, Shelby County v. Holder, 2013, and talk about the actually-happening-now portion of life.

Why do people behave as if this is the great mystery of American politics? Richard Nixon. Southern Strategy. Mystery solved.


I think what he’s referring to is the recent branding of the GOP as the party of civil rights:
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/301053/yes-party-civil-rights-kevin-d-williamson (looks like the original article is offline)



Democrats have always been the party of labor and keeping freed slaves and their descendants from competing for jobs


Most of the test isn’t too ambiguous, but the questions that are, coupled with the time limit makes this seem impossible for almost anyone.

You just need one wrong answer, so any ambiguity can be used against you. Sorry, illiterate!


I wouldn’t call it recent. In fact, quite the opposite! The GOP was the party of civil rights from its founding until… well… it finished petering out with Reagan, and became one of our current two parties of corruption and corporate toadying.

By contrast, the Democrats only abandoned open racism as a side effect of a bunch of Yankee politicians connected to organized crime systematically crushing the power of the Southern Democrats in the 50s and 60s.

Vote green! They are the only ones who actually care about other people than themselves. Or vote libertarian, since at least they are honest about their love affair with self-interest.

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Wow, some of the questions are so self-referential that you have to be familiar with Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem to get them right :wink:

5. Circle the first, first letter of the alphabet in this line.
Variations could be the first, second letter (“b” of alphabet) and the second, first letter.

6. In the space below draw three circles, one inside (engulfed by) the other.
So you draw one circle inside the other. What about the third?

9. Draw a line through the two letters below that come last in the alphabet.
Huh? There can be exactly one letter that comes last in the alphabet.

11. Cross out the number necessary, when making the number below one million.
Well, you could cross out the 1, thereby making the number 0 which is below one million but they’d certainly fail you for that.


It’s also startling to think that things haven’t changed all that much. Racism ain’t nothing but a changing same.


In particular, I can see this as a great test for Congressmen.


Does anyone have a link to the answer key? Or was the trick that there was no answer key?


You get an A for mastering GOP revisionist history. Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism, would be proud.


As amusing – and just – as I find this idea to be, there’s one problem. Namely, that those of us who lean Left typically tend to actually want to resolve negative situations. Trolling is funtimes, and increasingly tempting, but it doesn’t solve the problem of people believing crazy a$$ stuff. Which is a pretty serious problem.


20 years from now (but hopefully less), students in school will be asked to compare and contrast the racist “literacy tests” of the 60s with the Republican-inspired “voter ID/voter suppression” bills of this era.

The same players are involved, just different mechanisms.


Exactly. And speaking of tests, I think the whole testing regime BS in public schools is yet another, similar ploy by the same basic gang.


Unfortunately I am only able to “like” your post once.

I completely agree. Seeing the primary sources here is so valuable. This is no “literacy test.”

I was working out some of the questions. Then, I saw that this was only the first page. You have 20 seconds to answer each question-- that’s how much time it takes you to read the question. (And then, of course, there’s the 100% score requirement.)

This test is injustice incarnate.