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Take the impossible “literacy” test for black voters in the 60’s (3 pictures)

A “literacy test” refers to the government practice of testing the literacy of potential citizens at the federal level, and potential voters at the state level. The federal government first employed literacy tests as part of the immigration process in 1917. Southern state legislatures employed literacy tests as part of the voter registration process as early as the late 19th century.


Literacy tests, along with poll taxes and extra-legal intimidation, were used to deny suffrage to African-Americans. The first formal voter literacy tests were introduced in 1890. Whites were exempted from the literacy test if they could meet alternate requirements (the grandfather clause) that, in practice, excluded blacks.

Literacy tests continued to be used to disenfranchise blacks. The tests were usually administered orally by white local officials, who had complete discretion over who passed and who failed. [source]

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