A história

Como as leis da era de Jim Crow suprimiram o voto afro-americano

Como as leis da era de Jim Crow suprimiram o voto afro-americano


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Após a ratificação em 1870 do 15º A emenda, que proibia os estados de privar os cidadãos do direito de voto com base na raça, os estados do sul começaram a promulgar medidas como poll tax, testes de alfabetização, primárias totalmente brancas, leis de privação de direitos, cláusulas de avô, fraude e intimidação para manter os afro-americanos longe do enquetes.

Focado em manter a supremacia branca no processo eleitoral, os legisladores usaram brechas no 15º Emenda para implementar uma série de medidas para privar os eleitores negros sem caracterizá-los explicitamente com base na raça.

Depois de mais de meio milhão de homens negros ingressarem nas listas de votação durante a Reconstrução na década de 1870, ajudando a eleger quase 2.000 homens negros para cargos públicos, o Mississippi liderou o caminho usando medidas para contornar os 15º Alteração. As leis da era Jim Crow do Mississippi, então, estabeleceram um precedente para outros estados do sul usarem as mesmas táticas para atacar a emancipação negra por quase um século até a aprovação dos direitos de voto de 1965.

LINHA DO TEMPO: direito de voto nos Estados Unidos

Convenção do Estado do Mississippi de 1890

Na Convenção do Estado do Mississippi de 1890, uma nova constituição foi adotada que incluía um teste de alfabetização e poll tax para os eleitores qualificados. De acordo com o novo requisito de alfabetização, um eleitor em potencial tinha que ser capaz de ler qualquer seção da Constituição do Mississippi ou entender qualquer seção quando lida para ele, ou dar uma interpretação razoável de qualquer seção.

“Não adianta se equivocar ou mentir sobre o assunto”, disse James Vardaman em 1890. Vardaman serviu no Legislativo do Mississippi na época da convenção e mais tarde tornou-se governador do estado. “No Mississippi, temos em nossa constituição legislado contra as peculiaridades raciais do Negro. Quando esse dispositivo falhar, vamos recorrer a outra coisa. ”

O impacto da legislação foi rápido. Em 1910, os eleitores registrados entre os afro-americanos caíram para 15% na Virgínia e menos de 2% no Alabama e no Mississippi, de acordo com o historiador Donald G. Nieman, em seu livro Promises to Keep: African-Americans and The Constitutional Order, 1776 to the Present.

Em 1898 Williams V. Mississippi decisão, a Suprema Corte dos EUA manteve o poll tax do estado, cláusulas de privação de direitos, cláusula de avô e testes de alfabetização com base em que a nova constituição não “discriminava entre as raças e foi demonstrado que sua administração real não era má: apenas que o mal era possível sob eles. ” A decisão de Williams facilitou a implementação de estatutos de supressão de eleitores em muitos outros estados do sul, incluindo Louisiana, Carolina do Sul, Carolina do Norte, Alabama, Virgínia e Geórgia.

John B. Knox, um delegado do Alabama à convenção daquele estado de 1901, revelou a mentalidade dos legisladores brancos quando afirmou que, "O objetivo da convenção é estabelecer a supremacia branca no estado, dentro dos limites impostos pela Constituição Federal."

Embora muitas das medidas de supressão de votos também pudessem afetar os brancos pobres, elas afetaram desproporcionalmente os afro-americanos.

1. Testes de Alfabetização

As leis anti-alfabetização em muitos estados do sul tornaram ilegal ensinar pessoas escravizadas a ler. Em 1880, de acordo com o Bureau of Census dos EUA, 76% dos sul-africanos americanos eram analfabetos, uma taxa de 55 pontos percentuais maior do que a dos brancos sulistas. Em 1900, 50% dos homens negros em idade eleitoral não sabiam ler, em comparação com 12% dos homens brancos em idade eleitoral. Essas disparidades tornaram os testes de alfabetização uma das ferramentas mais eficazes para suprimir o voto afro-americano. Os escrivães eleitores, que sempre eram brancos, também podiam aprovar ou reprovar uma pessoa a seu critério com base na raça.

Pessoas brancas analfabetas eram frequentemente excluídas desses testes de alfabetização por meio do uso de cláusulas do avô, que vinculavam seus direitos de voto aos de seus avós antes da Guerra Civil. Ex-escravos, que não tinham direito a voto até os 15º Alteração, obviamente não poderia beneficiar desta disposição. A cláusula anterior também se aplicava aos impostos eleitorais, que foram outra medida criada por legislaturas do sul dominadas por brancos para suprimir o voto negro.

2. Poll Taxes

Embora as legislaturas do sul afirmassem que os impostos eleitorais para votação foram projetados para aumentar a receita do estado, para muitos líderes políticos brancos, o objetivo principal era suprimir o voto afro-americano. “Este jornal acredita na supremacia branca”, disse um Tuscaloosa (Alabama) Notícia editorial em 1939, “e acredita que o poll tax é um dos fundamentos para a preservação da supremacia branca.”

Onze estados no Sul tinham leis que exigiam que os cidadãos pagassem um poll tax antes de poderem votar. Os impostos, que eram de US $ 1 a US $ 2 por ano, afetaram desproporcionalmente os eleitores negros registrados. Na Geórgia, que implementou um poll tax cumulativo em 1877 que exigia que todos os cidadãos pagassem impostos antes de poder votar, a participação dos eleitores negros caiu 50 por cento, de acordo com Morgan Kousser em The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880-1910.

3. Primárias totalmente brancas

Quando testes de alfabetização, taxas de votação, cláusulas de avô e muitas outras maneiras de contornar os 15º A emenda não funcionou para suprimir a participação dos eleitores negros, os legisladores brancos em vários estados do sul usaram as primárias totalmente brancas para eliminar a presença de eleitores negros no processo eleitoral.

No Texas, por exemplo, a legislatura deu ao Partido Democrata autoridade para estabelecer suas próprias regras. O partido determinou que era apenas para eleitores brancos, excluindo os afro-americanos de suas eleições e efetivamente tornando a política eleitoral local dominada por um partido que defendia as leis de Jim Crow.

Depois que uma autoridade eleitoral branca bloqueou um homem negro, Lonnie E. Smith, o direito de votar nas primárias democratas do Texas de 1940, Thurgood Marshall da NAACP e William H. Hastie contestaram o caso até a Suprema Corte. Em 1944, a Suprema Corte dos Estados Unidos decidiu em Smith V. Allwright que o sistema primário branco do Texas era inconstitucional.

“O direito de votar nas primárias para a nomeação de candidatos sem discriminação por parte do Estado ... é um direito garantido pela Constituição”, disse o tribunal em sua decisão 8-1.

A Lei de Direitos de Voto de 1965

ASSISTIR: Lei de Direitos de Voto de 1965

Assinada como lei 95 anos após os 15º A emenda foi ratificada na Constituição, o Voting Rights Act de 1965 proibiu a maioria das práticas de votação discriminatórias nos estados do sul, como testes de alfabetização, taxas de votação e cláusulas de avô que foram elaboradas por legislaturas do sul para suprimir o voto afro-americano.

Quase tão rápida quanto a resistência à participação do eleitor negro havia sido quase um século antes, o mesmo aconteceu com a resposta a essa legislação histórica. Em um ano, apenas quatro dos 13 estados do sul tinham menos de 50% dos eleitores afro-americanos registrados.

Condado de Shelby x Holder

Em 2013, a Suprema Corte dos EUA rejeitou parte da Lei de Direitos de Voto quando determinou em uma votação de 5 a 4 que as restrições impostas a certos estados e a revisão federal dos procedimentos de votação dos estados estavam desatualizados. Na esteira do Condado de Shelby x Holder decisão, vários estados promulgaram leis que limitam o acesso do eleitor, incluindo requisitos de identidade, limites de votação antecipada, votação pelo correio e muito mais.


Movimento de liberdade afro-americano durante o período de Jim Crow

Jim Crow na América refere-se ao período após o Período de Reconstrução até 1960. A era de Jim Crow foi caracterizada pelo que foi referido como os códigos negros. Os códigos nada mais eram do que regras informais usadas pelos senhores coloniais para forçar os negros a trabalhar em suas plantações como escravos. O período de Jim Crow é um dos períodos mais sombrios da história dos afro-americanos. Nesse período, os negros na América estariam segregados racialmente e discriminados em todos os setores seja na educação, saúde, hospedagem ou transporte, eles também seriam agredidos, espancados e até mesmo linchados.

O linchamento de negros era considerado um meio de controle social, mas isso era apenas uma desculpa para executá-los. Na verdade, o linchamento era uma nova forma de entretenimento onde os brancos se reuniam, zombavam, riam e se divertiam com a luta dos negros linchados até a morte. Para mudar a política da época, a população negra tinha que fazer algo e isso foi feito por meio de vários métodos e estratégias sob a liderança dos então negros iluminados.

O foco principal deste artigo será discutir em profundidade essas formas e estratégias que os afro-americanos usaram para desafiar as leis de Jim Crow.

O artigo começa com uma breve introdução que é simplesmente um relato dos eventos que ocorreram durante essa época. O artigo então passa a discutir sobre as estratégias que os negros empregaram para acabar com a liderança dos brancos. Destaca também os protagonistas que conduziram a população negra nessa luta e finaliza com uma conclusão que é uma recapitulação dos principais pontos discutidos.

Como mencionado aqui acima, as leis de Jim Crow têm suas raízes em códigos negros, cujo objetivo principal era impor a escravidão. A razão pela qual os brancos recorreram aos códigos negros foi porque eles quase foram esquecidos, especialmente depois que os negros receberam alguns direitos civis durante o período de reconstrução. Nessa época, os negros teriam permissão para participar de sistemas políticos como o voto e também seriam proprietários de alguns terrenos que antes pertenciam a seus senhores. Eles receberam esses direitos nos termos das 13ª, 14ª e 15ª Emendas Constitucionais. Esses direitos também foram aplicados pela Lei dos Direitos Civis de 1866. Os brancos sulistas não acharam graça nisso e logo se uniram contra os negros, submetendo-os a um dos momentos mais difíceis da história dos negros.

De acordo com Marx (1998), após o fim do Período de Reconstrução em 1877, os brancos do sul sob um grupo político de pessoas conhecidas como Redentores usariam atos terroristas para ganhar o controle dos estados do sul dos republicanos do norte. Eventualmente, eles foram capazes de assumir o controle desses estados e de sua legislatura. Usando essas legislações, eles foram capazes de privar os negros de todos os direitos que haviam adquirido durante o período de Reconstrução, marcando assim o início da era Jim Crow.

Os democratas do sul usaram seu poder para controlar os afro-americanos usando um grupo terrorista conhecido como Klu Klax Klan e, além dos códigos negros, os brancos introduziram outras novas leis, por exemplo, era preciso passar por um certo teste de alfabetização para poder votar assim muitos negros sendo analfabetos, eles foram negados a oportunidade de votar. Outro método que os brancos usaram para subjugar os negros foi através da introdução do poll tax legalmente instituído para garantir que eles continuassem trabalhando em suas fazendas a fim de obter dinheiro para pagar seu poll tax (Healey, J. F. 2006). Na década de 1890, os negros eram segregados em quase todos os setores. Embora tenham sido fortemente reprimidos pelos brancos e seus apelos caíram em ouvidos surdos, eles tentaram desafiar essa liderança instituindo ações judiciais contra eles, alegando que todas as formas de corrupção eram proibidas pela 14ª Emenda Constitucional. Apesar dessa disposição, a Suprema Corte rejeitou suas alegações de que, embora a segregação estadual não fosse permitida, a segregação em empresas e em indivíduos não era proibida. Embora os negros não tenham sido favorecidos pela decisão da Suprema Corte, eles nunca perderam as esperanças na luta contra os abusos de seus direitos civis e por isso continuaram lutando por eles até o fim. A verdade é que as leis de Jim Crow foram recebidas com desafio e resistência abertos (Healey, J. F. 2006).

Durante a era Jim Crow, o sexo inter-racial e os casamentos não eram permitidos e os brancos propagaram muitas crenças com o objetivo de anular qualquer forma de relacionamento que parecesse surgir. Essas leis garantiam que todos os negros permanecessem na base da hierarquia e isso era feito por meio do uso da violência e de leis repressivas. Mais uma vez, essas leis proibiam brancos e negros de apertar as mãos sob o pretexto de que os negros presumissem que eram iguais aos brancos. Os negros não deveriam frequentar as mesmas escolas, hospitais, usar o mesmo meio de transporte e se isso tivesse que acontecer, então os negros deveriam ceder seus lugares aos brancos e sentar ou ficar na parte de trás caso o ônibus estivesse lotado. Essas leis de transporte foram aplicadas pela lei da Louisiana, Separate Car Law de 1890, que aderiu ao princípio de "separado, mas igual" (Fredrickson, 1996).

Em uma tentativa de acabar com a segregação, os afro-americanos liderados por seus líderes usaram vários métodos e estratégias, por exemplo, eles iriam aos tribunais, realizariam marchas de protesto como a famosa marcha para Washington, realizariam protestos, eles também boicotariam os meios de transporte públicos , formariam vários movimentos de liberdade, como o Movimento dos Direitos Civis, o NCAAP e a UNIA e optariam por não obedecer às leis.

Os negros reprimidos também desafiariam essas leis de Jim Crow nos tribunais, embora muitas vezes tenham perdido, mas, apesar disso, eles ainda foram capazes de acabar com algumas formas de segregação racial e discriminação. Por exemplo, em 1915, no caso entre Guinn Vs Estados Unidos, a lei de segregação que negava a eles a chance de votar foi revogada por ser inconstitucional. Então, em um processo judicial Buchanan vs. Warley, todas as formas de segregação residencial foram proibidas. De acordo com a lei de Louisiana e Kentucky, os afro-americanos não tinham permissão para viver na mesma vizinhança com os brancos, especialmente em áreas onde os brancos eram a maioria. A Suprema Corte dos Estados Unidos argumentou que, embora essa lei de segregação parecesse legítima, ela negava os próprios direitos que os negros eram garantidos pela 14ª emenda da constituição. (Fredrickson, 1996)

Novamente no caso Sweat vs. Painter de 1914, a lei que segregava os negros e os negava a ter oportunidades iguais com os brancos foi considerada inconstitucional. Neste caso, Marion Sweat foi recusada a matricular-se na faculdade de direito do Texas por causa da cor da pele e, em vez disso, foi matriculada em outra nova faculdade de direito destinada aos negros. A Suprema Corte proibiu essa lei citando o motivo de as faculdades de direito destinadas aos negros não atenderem aos requisitos mínimos da lei. Ainda em outro caso, Brown vs. Board of Education em 1954, a doutrina separada, mas igual, que era aplicada tanto no ensino fundamental quanto no médio, foi contestada no tribunal. Na anulação desta lei, o Supremo Tribunal dos EUA disse que esta lei de segregação fazia os negros parecerem inferiores aos brancos e que prejudicava as oportunidades educacionais dos negros (Healey, 2006 226)

Outro método usado pelos negros para desafiar as leis de Jim Crow foi organizar marchas de protesto nas ruas das principais cidades. Essas marchas foram muito comuns no período entre 1950 e 60, sendo a mais famosa delas a marcha para Washington. Os negros também organizaram boicotes, por exemplo o que resultou em 1º de dezembro, depois que Rosa Parks se recusou a ceder seu assento a uma pessoa branca, conforme exigido pelas etiquetas sociais da época. Isso levou à sua prisão algo que provocou a consciência dos afro-americanos que responderam por um dos mais famosos boicotes aos ônibus, o Boicote aos ônibus de Montgomery, que afetou a economia do país obrigando as potências brancas a reconsiderar sua decisão e, finalmente, a revogação desta lei de segregação no transporte público. (Healey, 2006)

Outro método que os Blacks usaram para desafiar essas leis era fazer protestos em restaurantes públicos. De acordo com as leis de Jim Crow, os negros não deviam comer e beber vinho com os brancos no mesmo restaurante, mas os negros ainda assim iriam a esses restaurantes, embora não fossem servidos. O maior protesto aconteceu quando quatro estudantes do ensino médio foram a um restaurante para almoçar, mas não foram servidos. Em vez de irem embora, decidiram ficar lá até a noite. No dia seguinte, eles fizeram o mesmo, mas o engraçado é que o resto dos alunos tinha ouvido falar da notícia e estavam fazendo o mesmo em outros lugares. “O movimento de protesto estudantil (foi) lançado por quatro jovens afro-americanos em uma lanchonete da Woolworth's em Greensboro, Carolina do Norte, em fevereiro de 1960. Em poucas semanas, o movimento se espalhou para outras cidades, principalmente Nashville.” (Marqusee, 46)

A outra estratégia utilizada foi a formação de movimentos de liberdade que se mostraram muito bons em aproximar a população negra. Um exemplo desses movimentos de liberdade foi o Movimento dos Direitos Civis, liderado por Martin Luther King Jr. O movimento era voltado para a luta pelos direitos civis dos negros. A questão mais urgente que levou à sua formação foi a segregação racial e a discriminação perpetrada pelos brancos contra a população negra (Marqusee, M., 2005). O Movimento pelos Direitos Civis foi muito vibrante na organização de boicotes, marchas de protesto e o que foi geralmente referido como desobediência civil. Esse movimento ganhou impulso na década de 1950, especialmente após o boicote aos ônibus de Montgomery, e permaneceu vibrante até 1965, quando a Lei dos Direitos Civis foi finalmente promulgada. Este movimento deve seu crédito a Martin Luther king Jr., que sem sua liderança corajosa e notável e suas habilidades oratórias, nenhum progresso teria sido feito. King é mais lembrado por organizar a marcha de protesto para Washington e por fazer o "Discurso de um sonho".

Outra figura importante cujo papel ele desempenhou no fim das leis de Jim Crow não pode ser esquecido é W.E.B Du Bois. Este foi um sociólogo e historiador afro-americano cujo trabalho lançou as bases sobre as quais os direitos civis foram fundamentados. Por meio de seu Movimento Niagara, Du Bois defendeu o confronto direto nas questões que afetavam os negros, ao contrário de seu companheiro Booker T. Washington, que defendia uma abordagem mais acomodatícia da liderança branca. Ele pediu aos negros que se humilhassem, argumentando que eles finalmente teriam sucesso na vida e seriam livres. (Davis, Ronald)

A outra figura importante foi Marcus Moziah Garvey, um nacionalista negro nascido em 1887 e morto em 1940. Certa vez, ele organizou uma greve dos trabalhadores de uma gráfica devido aos baixos salários que recebiam. Em 1912, ele foi para a Inglaterra para expandir um pouco seus horizontes e depois voltou para casa para formar um movimento que ficou conhecido como Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) em 1914.

Em suma, os afro-americanos, ao enfrentar a segregação racial e a discriminação, empregaram vários métodos e estratégias que, no final, provaram ser bem-sucedidos. Por exemplo, eles marchariam nas ruas para expressar sua insatisfação, mostrar desobediência civil aberta, organizar marchas de protesto e formar movimentos de liberdade. Isso porque durante a era Jim Crow, os negros eram atacados, espancados e linchados sob o pretexto de estarem infringindo as leis. Devido à forma como foram tratados, os negros sem nenhuma outra boa opção tiveram que imaginar maneiras de como eles iriam enfrentar a liderança dos brancos, mas isso não foi sem a ajuda muito necessária que foi oferecida a líderes corajosos, inteligentes, focados e confiáveis ​​para guiar e mostrar-lhes o caminho a seguir.

Davis, Ronald L. F. A História de Jim Crow: Do Terror ao Triunfo: Visão Geral Histórica. Disponível em http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/history/overview.htm

Healey, J. F. 2006. Raça, Etnia, Gênero e Classe: A Sociologia do Conflito de Grupo e Mudança. 4ª Edição. Pine Forge Press

Fredrickson, G.M. 1996. Black Liberation: A Comparative History of Black Ideologies in the United States and South Africa. Oxford University Press US.

Marqusee, M., 2005. Wicked Messenger: Bob Dylan and the 1960s. Edição revisada.


Jim Crow matou direitos de voto para gerações. Agora o GOP está repetindo a história.

Em 3 de setembro de 1868, Henry McNeal Turner levantou-se para falar na Câmara dos Representantes da Geórgia para lutar por sua sobrevivência política. Ele foi um dos 33 novos legisladores estaduais negros eleitos naquele ano na Geórgia, uma mudança revolucionária no Sul após 250 anos de escravidão. Oitocentos mil novos eleitores negros foram registrados em toda a região, e a proporção de homens negros sulistas que podiam votar disparou de 0,5 por cento em 1866 para 80,5 por cento dois anos depois.

Esses legisladores negros ajudaram a redigir uma nova constituição estadual garantindo o direito de voto aos ex-escravos e levando a Geórgia de volta à união. No entanto, apenas dois meses após a 14ª Emenda conceder plenos direitos de cidadania aos negros americanos, a legislatura da Geórgia, dominada por brancos, apresentou um projeto de lei para expulsar os legisladores negros, argumentando que a constituição do estado protegia seu direito de voto, mas não de ocupar cargos. “Você traz o Congresso e o Partido Republicano ao ódio neste estado”, disse Joseph E. Brown, que serviu como governador durante os anos da Confederação, quando “você confere aos negros o direito de ocupar cargos & # 8230 em sua condição atual. ”

Turner ficou chocado. Nascido livre na Carolina do Sul, ele foi nomeado por Abraham Lincoln como o primeiro capelão negro do Exército da União. Após a guerra, ele se estabeleceu em Macon, a quinta maior cidade da Geórgia, onde foi eleito para o legislativo. Como um gesto de boa vontade, ele pressionou para restaurar o direito de voto aos ex-confederados. Mas agora os membros brancos da legislatura - tanto democratas quanto republicanos - estavam se voltando contra seus colegas negros.

O discurso apaixonado de Turner se tornaria um grito de guerra para o movimento pelos direitos civis 100 anos depois. "Eu sou um homem?" ele perguntou. “Se eu for assim, reclamo os direitos de um homem. Não sou um homem porque sou de uma cor mais escura do que os cavalheiros honrados ao meu redor? "

Mas seus apelos não foram atendidos. A legislatura votou para expulsar os legisladores negros, que nem mesmo tiveram permissão para participar da votação. “Os sagrados direitos de minha raça”, disse Turner, foram “destruídos de um só golpe”. Logo ele estava recebendo ameaças de morte da Ku Klux Klan. “Não devemos ser tomados de espanto ou arrependimento” se ele fosse ser linchado, editorializou o Sol Semanal de Columbus, Georgia. Duas semanas depois, um dos legisladores negros depostos, Philip Joiner, liderou uma marcha até a pequena cidade de Camilla, no sudoeste da Geórgia, onde residentes brancos abriram fogo, matando uma dúzia ou mais dos manifestantes, em sua maioria negros.

E assim a Reconstrução praticamente terminou na Geórgia quase assim que começou. Os republicanos indignados em Washington tentaram restabelecê-lo, colocando o estado de volta sob o regime militar, expurgando ex-confederados da legislatura e devolvendo aos membros negros seus assentos. Mas na eleição de 1870, a maioria branca da Geórgia se uniu para reivindicar o estado e votar os membros negros, apoiada pela violência do KKK que manteve muitos negros fora das urnas. “Não há linguagem no vocabulário do inferno forte o suficiente para retratar os ultrajes que foram perpetrados”, escreveu Turner ao senador Charles Sumner de Massachusetts. Cinco anos após o fim da guerra, ex-confederados retomaram a Geórgia. “Os brancos do sul nunca consentirão com o governo do Negro”, disse o senador democrata dos EUA Benjamin Hill. "Nunca!" A Geórgia se tornou um modelo de como a supremacia branca seria restaurada em todo o sul.

Cento e cinquenta anos depois, outro legislador da Geórgia representando Macon levantou-se para defender os direitos pelos quais Turner lutou. Como Turner, o senador estadual democrata David Lucas é um ministro episcopal metodista africano. Em 1974, com apenas 24 anos, ele se tornou o primeiro membro negro da legislatura a representar Macon desde a Reconstrução - um produto da segunda Reconstrução, da década de 1960, quando o país aprovou leis de direitos civis, incluindo a Lei de Direitos de Voto, para restaurar o promessa desperdiçada do primeiro. Com o seu Super Fly terno e motocicleta Honda 750, ele se destacou entre os bons e velhos meninos do Capitólio do estado.

Em 23 de fevereiro de 2021, Lucas, agora com 71 anos, subiu ao pódio do Senado para se opor a uma nova exigência de identificação do eleitor para cédulas de votação introduzida pelos republicanos da Geórgia. Em 2005, os republicanos isentaram especificamente as cédulas pelo correio da lei de identificação do eleitor do estado, acreditando que mais eleitores rurais e idosos seriam aqueles que as votariam. Mas agora eles estavam mudando as regras depois que a parcela negra de eleitores por correspondência aumentou 8 pontos em 2020 e a parcela branca caiu 13 pontos. A medida foi um dos 50 projetos de lei anti-voto que eles introduziram depois que o estado ficou azul em novembro e Donald Trump tentou derrubar os resultados eleitorais alegando falsamente uma conspiração massiva para fraudar a votação.

Lucas, o historiador interno do Legislative Black Caucus da Geórgia, disse que o projeto "me lembra da eleição de 1876". Ele contou a história da disputada disputa presidencial que colocou Rutherford B. Hayes na Casa Branca com a condição de que retirasse as tropas federais do Sul, encerrando oficialmente a Reconstrução. “Quando retiraram as tropas federais”, disse Lucas, “foi quando Jim Crow e o pessoal foram linchados”.

Essa história era pessoal para Lucas. Quando ele tinha 13 anos e jogava quadra com amigos, a polícia o pegou e o acusou falsamente de atirar uma pedra no para-brisa de um motorista branco. Eles o levaram a uma loja de conveniência, onde o motorista entrou no banco de trás do carro da polícia, colocou uma arma em sua cabeça, "e me disse que iria me matar", disse Lucas. Mais tarde, como estudante na Universidade de Tuskegee, ele trabalhou nas campanhas dos primeiros legisladores negros eleitos no Alabama desde a Reconstrução e trabalhou com um professor negro de ciência política para registrar eleitores negros na área. Enquanto ele vasculhava estradas empoeiradas de pequenas cidades, homens brancos em caminhonetes passavam com espingardas e perguntavam a ele: “Por que você está registrando pessoas para votar?”

Depois de 45 anos no cargo, ele disse a seus colegas com emoção que não conseguia acreditar que ainda tinha que defender seu direito de voto. O que deveria ser o princípio mais fundamental do país continuou sendo o mais contestado. “Não irei para casa e direi às pessoas que votaram que tirei o direito de você votar”, Lucas prometeu no plenário do Senado.

Um mês depois, os republicanos da Geórgia aprovaram uma ampla reformulação das leis eleitorais do estado - reduzindo o acesso às cédulas pelo correio, limitando as caixas suspensas, possibilitando que grupos de direita desafiassem a elegibilidade dos eleitores e aumentando o poder da legislatura pesadamente limitada administração eleitoral. Em todo o país, quase 400 projetos de lei foram apresentados nos primeiros cinco meses de 2021 para limitar o acesso ao voto, o maior número de restrições de voto proposto em um momento desde o fim da Reconstrução.

O governador da Geórgia, Brian Kemp, assinou o projeto de lei de votação do estado ao lado de seis republicanos brancos do sexo masculino, sob uma pintura de uma plantação de escravos. Quando Park Cannon, uma jovem representante estadual negra democrata de Atlanta, bateu na porta do governador exigindo ver a assinatura, a polícia estadual da Geórgia a prendeu e a arrastou do Capitólio, acusando-a de dois crimes (logo abandonados) - uma cena que causou de volta às repressões brutais contra ativistas dos direitos civis do século XX. “Se você não gosta de ser chamada de racista ou Jim Crow, pare de agir como tal”, disse a senadora estadual democrata Nikki Merritt a seus colegas republicanos brancos após a prisão. A ex-candidata democrata ao governo Stacey Abrams, fundadora do grupo de direitos de voto Fair Fair Action, chamou a lei & # 8220Jim Crow de terno e gravata. & # 8221

Durante a Reconstrução, a igualdade racial foi inscrita na Constituição dos Estados Unidos pela primeira vez. Foi nada menos do que uma “segunda fundação”, escreveu o historiador da Universidade de Columbia Eric Foner em seu livro de 2019 com o mesmo nome. Legisladores negros pioneiros como Turner foram eleitos, e o partido que estava alinhado com os direitos de voto dos negros fez incursões em uma região dominada por um século pelo partido da supremacia branca. O governo multirracial se tornou um fato da vida onde o governo da minoria branca era a norma.

A derrubada da Reconstrução foi um lembrete gritante da fragilidade do progresso no direito de voto. A segunda Reconstrução, que começou na década de 1960, foi marcada por um avanço longo e lento que culminou em 2020, quando os eleitores negros compareceram em número recorde para eleger os primeiros senadores negros e judeus dos Estados Unidos. “Depois que parei de chorar, fiquei tão exultante que a Geórgia está sozinha no Sul”, disse o deputado estadual Al Williams, que marchou de Selma a Montgomery com John Lewis e foi preso 17 vezes durante o movimento pelos direitos civis. “Um judeu e um pregador Batista Negro - quem poderia imaginar isso?”

Mas a violenta reação branca que se seguiu a essas vitórias - uma tentativa de derrubar a eleição, uma insurreição no Capitólio dos Estados Unidos, um número recorde de projetos de lei para restringir os direitos de voto - tem todos os ingredientes para uma tentativa concertada de encerrar a segunda Reconstrução.

Os meios mudaram e se tornaram menos violentos, mas a ideia básica é a mesma: expor as restrições de voto em linguagem cega à raça para privar de direitos novos eleitores e comunidades de cor. Mais uma vez, o partido da queixa branca está reescrevendo as regras da democracia americana para proteger o poder político branco conservador da influência crescente de novos grupos demográficos. “Ninguém está aplicando um teste de alfabetização, ninguém está aplicando um poll tax”, diz o historiador de Yale David Blight. “Mas há várias maneiras de como simplesmente restringir a votação desta vez. Em vez de privação total, eles estão obviamente indo para: Eliminar 5 por cento dos votos negros e você pode mais uma vez ganhar a Geórgia. ”

Em agosto de 1890, ex-líderes confederados no Mississippi se reuniram para redigir uma nova constituição estadual que privaria os eleitores negros de uma vez por todas. “Vamos dizer a verdade se isso estourar o fundo do Universo”, disse o juiz da Suprema Corte do Mississippi, Solomon S. Calhoon. “Viemos aqui para excluir o negro. Nada menos que isso vai responder. ”

A reconstrução trouxe mudanças ainda maiores para o Mississippi do que para a Geórgia, porque o Mississippi tinha uma maioria negra. Mais de 225 detentores de cargos negros foram eleitos, incluindo dois senadores americanos, um congressista, presidente da Câmara, vice-governador, secretário de estado e superintendente de educação. Foi o próprio sucesso da Reconstrução que fez os brancos do Mississippi tão determinados a derrubá-la.

Em 1875, ex-confederados retomaram o estado seguindo o modelo da Geórgia: os democratas brancos formaram grupos paramilitares e atacaram as reuniões republicanas, ameaçaram represálias econômicas contra fazendeiros negros e encheram as urnas.

“Se um homem de cor dizia que ia se registrar, eles o aconselharam a não fazer isso”, disse Aurelius Parker, membro da legislatura. “If he was still determined in his statement that he was going to register, they would tell him that if he did register, he could not vote.” Those who ignored such threats were told, “You had better spend Monday digging a grave for yourself if you intend to vote, for you will not be allowed to live.”

White Democrats weren’t always proud of the methods they used to keep Black people from the polls. “It is no secret that there has not been a fair count in Mississippi since 1875, that we have been preserving the ascendancy of the white people by revolutionary methods,” Judge J.B. Chrisman said during an unusually candid speech at the state constitutional convention in 1890. “In other words, we have been stuffing ballot boxes, committing perjury, and here and there in the state carrying the elections by fraud and violence…No man can be in favor of perpetuating the election methods which have prevailed in Mississippi since 1875 who is not a moral idiot.”

They soon shifted tactics to achieve the same goal. The Reconstruction laws were technically still on the books, and if Republicans, who had taken unified control of the federal government in 1888 for the first time since the Grant administration, passed new legislation to enforce the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed men the right to vote regardless of race, Black people could regain their influence in the state. So Mississippi Democrats attempted something historic, drafting a new state constitution “to effect an electorate under which there could be white supremacy through honest elections,” wrote J.S. McNeily of the Vicksburg Herald.

The constitutional convention established a dizzying array of devices to eliminate Black suffrage, including a poll tax and the disqualification of prospective voters who committed minor crimes like “obtaining goods under false pretenses”—offenses for which Black people were disproportionately charged. The centerpiece of the plan was a requirement that any voter “be able to read any section of the Constitution of this State or he shall be able to understand the same when read to him, or give a reasonable interpretation thereof.” This “understanding clause” gave local white election officials tremendous discretion to turn away Black people, while permitting local whites who might fail such a test to vote regardless.

There are striking similarities between the Mississippi plan of 1890 and the Georgia plan of 2021. The same pattern that existed during Reconstruction—the enfranchisement of Black voters, followed by the manipulation of election laws to throw out Black votes, culminating in laws passed to legally disenfranchise Black voters—is repeating itself today.

Trump told Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” to nullify Joe Biden’s victory, and Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani asked the state legislature to appoint its own presidential electors to overturn the will of the voters. When these efforts failed, Georgia Republicans rushed to change their voting laws to make it much easier for Republican candidates to find those votes in future elections—replacing extralegal attempts to rig the election with ostensibly legal ones.

The proponents of these laws have defended them in eerily similar ways. White Mississippians of the 1890s claimed there was nothing racist about their new constitution because it was intended “to correct the evil, not of Negro suffrage per se, but of ignorant and debased suffrage,” said Mississippi Democratic Sen. James Z. George. The “understanding clause” was “an enlargement of the right to vote and not a restriction upon it,” George argued, since it did not disenfranchise voters if they could sufficiently interpret the Constitution—a loophole that, in practice, existed for white people, not Black people.

Similarly, in 2021, Kemp said “there is nothing Jim Crow” about the Georgia law and argued that it “expands access to the ballot box,” pointing to a provision that requires more days of weekend voting. That won’t affect large counties in the Atlanta area that already offered multiple days of weekend voting but will create more voting opportunities for rural counties that lean Republican. Nor did Kemp mention the 16 different provisions that make it harder to vote and that target metro Atlanta counties with large Black populations.

And both plans had built-in backstops in case they didn’t succeed in manipulating the electorate. In post-Reconstruction Mississippi, the lieutenant governor and secretary of state would appoint all the local election officials, who could ensure the results favored white Democrats. This consolidation of election authority was replicated by Democrats across the South. In Maryland, South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana, the governor appointed the county commissioners who selected the election judges. In Alabama and Arkansas, election officials were chosen by a state board led by the governor in Virginia and North Carolina, the legislature appointed them.

This year, after Raffensperger rebuffed Trump’s demand to overturn the election, the Georgia legislature stripped the secretary of state of his chairmanship and voting rights on the state election board and lawmakers instead gave the legislature the power to appoint a majority of board members. The board, in turn, has the authority to take over up to four county election boards it deems underperforming. And since November, at least nine GOP-controlled counties have dissolved their bipartisan election boards to create all-Republican panels. Combined with a provision allowing right-wing groups to mount an unlimited number of challenges to voter eligibility, these changes will make it easier for Republicans to contest close elections and possibly overturn the results.

Then, as now, Congress had the power to stop the disenfranchisement of Black voters.

One month before the Mississippi convention of 1890, the House of Representatives passed a bill sponsored by Massachusetts Rep. Henry Cabot Lodge empowering federal supervisors to oversee registration, voting, and ballot counting in the South, and giving federal judges the power to invalidate fraudulent election results. “The Government which made the Black man a citizen of the United States is bound to protect him in his rights as a citizen of the United States, and it is a cowardly Government if it does not do it!” Lodge said.

Senate Republicans also greeted the Mississippi convention with outrage, vowing to approve the Lodge bill when they returned to the chamber that fall. But Democrats staged a dramatic filibuster—the first of many Southern-led filibusters to kill civil rights legislation—giving exhaustive speeches and using a variety of endless procedural delays to derail the bill. Sen. George of Mississippi alone gave three marathon speeches in opposition. “It will never come to pass in Mississippi, in Florida, in South Carolina, or any other State in the South, in any State in the American Union, that the neck of the white race shall be under the foot of the Negro,” he vowed.

With the support of a group of Western Republicans from sparsely populated mining states who feared the expansion of suffrage to Chinese immigrants, Senate Democrats mounted a sneak attack on January 5, 1891. Democrats were quietly told to hastily assemble in the chamber. Democrat Isham G. Harris of Tennessee controlled the gavel while Vice President Levi Morton, a Republican who usually presided over the business of the Senate, was taking a leisurely lunch. As Republicans angrily protested, the assembled senators voted 34 to 29 to scrap the Lodge bill.

Today, the parties have flipped, but the situation is similar. Aided by national dark money groups like Heritage Action for America, Republican-controlled states are rushing to pass new voting restrictions while Democrats in Congress are pushing two sweeping bills to protect voting rights and stop many of these efforts. Once again, these bills are likely to be blocked by a Senate filibuster. Republicans have denounced one of the bills, HR 1, in the same apocalyptic terms that Democrats once used to criticize the Lodge bill. Ted Cruz of Texas called it “the single most dangerous piece of legislation before Congress.”

The failure of the Lodge bill is a stark reminder of the costs of inaction, both for democracy and for the party that supports Black voting rights. Following its defeat, Democrats suppressed the Black vote so efficiently that they gained unified control of the federal government in 1893 for the first time since before the Civil War. They promptly repealed the laws that had been used to enforce Reconstruction and protect Black suffrage.

“Let every trace of the reconstruction measures be wiped from the statute books let the States of this great Union understand that the elections are in their own hands,” House Democrats wrote in an 1893 report. “Responding to a universal sentiment throughout the country for greater purity in elections many of our States have enacted laws to protect the voter and to purify the ballot.” A similar phrase—“preserve the purity of the ballot box”—was inserted by Texas Republicans in a sweeping anti-voting bill this year and stricken only after Democrats pointed out that it dated back to Jim Crow. (The final version of the Texas bill, which would have curtailed voting methods disproportionately used by Black and Brown voters and made it easier to overturn election results, was blocked in the state House after Democrats staged a dramatic walkout before a midnight deadline, denying Republicans the necessary quorum to pass it.)

Following the adoption of the Mississippi plan and failure of the Lodge bill, by 1907 every Southern state had changed its constitution to disenfranchise Black voters, through poll taxes, literacy tests, property requirements, and complex registration and residency laws. The number of Black registered voters in Mississippi fell from 130,483 in 1876 to 1,264 by 1900 in Louisiana from roughly 130,000 in 1896 to 1,342 in 1904 in Alabama’s Black Belt counties from 79,311 in 1900 to 1,081 in 1901.

By the early 1900s, only 7 percent of Black residents were registered to vote in seven Southern states, according to data compiled by the historian Morgan Kousser, and Black turnout fell from 61 percent of the voting-age population in 1880 to just 2 percent in 1912.

“The failure of the Lodge bill was taken by the white South as a go-ahead,” says Foner. “‘The Republican Party has given up, and therefore we can go forward.’”

Once voting rights are taken away, the history of Reconstruction shows how difficult it is to get them back. If Congress fails to act, don’t expect the courts to step in.

In 1898, the US Supreme Court upheld the Mississippi plan, despite clear evidence of Black disenfranchisement and the racial motivations behind it. The law’s provisions “do not on their face discriminate between the races, and it has not been shown that their actual administration was evil, only that evil was possible under them,” Justice Joseph McKenna wrote.

Five years later, Jackson Giles, president of the Colored Men’s Suffrage Association of Alabama, challenged Alabama’s literacy test on behalf of 5,000 Black citizens in Montgomery. Giles had voted in Montgomery for 30 years before the new constitution disenfranchised him. Yet the Supreme Court said there was nothing it could do to help him. “Relief from a great political wrong, if done, as alleged, by the people of a state and the state itself, must be given by them or by the legislative and political department of the government of the United States,” wrote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1903.

The states’ rights jurisprudence of the post-Reconstruction court has been resurrected by today’s court, which under Chief Justice John Roberts has gutted the Voting Rights Act, refused to overturn partisan gerrymandering, and almost completely turned its back on efforts to protect voting rights for communities of color. The 2013 decision in Condado de Shelby x Holder—when the court’s conservative majority ruled that states like Georgia and Mississippi, with a history of discrimination, no longer needed to clear their voting changes with the federal government—had an impact similar to Hayes’ decision to withdraw federal troops from the South in 1877. The federal government, it was clear, had abandoned its commitment to enforce the Reconstruction Amendments to the Constitution.

“The only thing that protects people’s access to the vote is federal protection, federal intervention,” says Northwestern University historian Kate Masur. “If nothing else, that pattern is clear in US history.”

On March 17, 2021, a week before Georgia passed its voter suppression law, Raphael Warnock gave his maiden speech on the floor of the US Senate. Like Henry McNeal Turner, Warnock was a preacher before he became a politician, and his election was followed by a horrific act of violence.

“We elected Georgia’s first African American and Jewish senator, and, hours later, the Capitol was assaulted,” Warnock told his colleagues. “We see in just a few precious hours the tension very much alive in the soul of America.”

When he was born in 1969, Warnock said, Georgia still had two arch-segregationist senators, Richard B. Russell and Herman E. Talmadge. After the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board de Educação decision, Talmadge predicted that “blood will run in the streets of Atlanta” if schools were desegregated. When Talmadge’s father, Eugene, the state’s longtime segregationist governor, was asked in 1946 how he would keep Blacks away from the polls after the federal courts invalidated the state’s whites-only primary, he picked up a scrap of paper and wrote a single word: “pistols.”

Warnock noted that he now held the Senate seat “where Herman E. Talmadge sat.” That was progress, but the immediate backlash showed just how entrenched the reactionary forces in American politics had become. At the time, 250 bills had been introduced at the state level to restrict voting rights. One month later, when Warnock testified at a Senate hearing on “Jim Crow 2021,” the number of proposed restrictions had increased by more than 100, and Georgia was at the center of a heated national debate over voter suppression. “I come here today to stress the critical need for the federal government to act urgently to protect the sacred right to vote,” he said.

The last time that happened, when Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, he compared it to the last battle over slavery, to redress not just the country’s original sin, but the failed hope of Reconstruction. The Union victory at Appomattox was “an American victory but also a Negro victory,” Johnson said. “Yet for almost a century, the promise of that day was not fulfilled.”

Warnock said he thought often about what would have happened if the Voting Rights Act had not passed in 1965, if the country had not intervened to enforce the 15th Amendment after it had been ignored for so many years. “If we had not acted in 1965, what would our country look like?” he asked his fellow senators. “Surely, I would not be sitting here. Only the 11th Black senator in the history of our country. And the first Black senator in Georgia. And maybe that’s the point.”

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The Insurrection Was a Return to Jim Crow-Era Violent Voter Suppression

On January 6, our nation experienced a brazen and violent attack on our democracy by domestic terrorists intent on overturning a fair and legal election. In the aftermath, many have said that “this is not America.” When in fact the rallying cries used by these insurrectionists were recycled from the Ku Klux Klan when they used brutal violence to prevent Black Americans from voting in the 1960s. Make no mistake, these treasonous acts perpetrated by right-wing extremists represent a return to racially motivated violence that we have witnessed throughout American history, especially during the Jim Crow-era in response to Black voting and economic power.

As the Executive Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation, I know all too well the violent backlash that racial progress engenders, particularly when it is gained through the ballot box. My organization’s namesake, Andrew Goodman, and his fellow Freedom Summer volunteers, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner, were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan while registering Black Americans to vote in Mississippi in 1964. Their killers were also domestic terrorists who saw Black enfranchisement as a threat to white supremacy. Sadly, what happened on January 6 follows that very same pattern.

Following the 2016 election, The Andrew Goodman Foundation joined forces with several voting, legal, and civil rights groups to combat the alarming rise of voter suppression policies that disenfranchised voters across the country. Throughout 2016 and 2018, we watched as these schemes became bolder and more sophisticated, and as a result, in the lead up to the 2020 election, we embarked on a national strategy that centered on activating, advocating, and litigating. We learned the playbook and developed countermeasures for the tactics that suppressed turnout in the 2016 election. We filed lawsuits and co-hosted a series of virtual summits. We had the distinct goal of empowering young voters, particularly Black students, and other targeted populations with strategies to overcome barriers to voting. We also utilized technology to reach millions, educating them about the pertinent voting requirements and deadlines governing elections in their states training them on how to leverage our digital tools to mobilize others on their campuses and guiding them through fixing their ballots if they were rejected. Voting rights organizations fought back against dozens of capricious policies that intentionally made it harder for students, particularly students of color, to vote.

Our efforts, along with a number of other voting rights organizations, were successful even in the face of a global pandemic and an onslaught of suppression efforts. Over 160 million Americans voted, the highest number in a century. Our collective success in overcoming widespread voter suppression ushered in a new era of racial and gender progress. Our elected Vice President is the first woman, African American, and Asian American to ever hold that office. The state of Georgia, once a hotbed for the confederacy, elected its first Black American and Jewish American senators to the United States Senate, reminiscent of the Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner’s Black-Jewish coalition. More members of the LGBTQ community were elected to Congress. And, it was Black voters that powered much of this progress.

If history has taught us anything, it is that when legislative attempts to oppress and suppress fail, then violence follows. This is why we must harness our collective power once again to ensure that every domestic terrorist is held accountable, including our elected representatives who incited or abetted it. We are already seeing disturbing signs that the violent extremists who participated in the coup attempt may not face consequences commiserate with their crimes or at all. If they are not held accountable for attacking and spreading feces throughout the sacred halls of our democracy’s Mecca, then their efforts will be legitimized and they will be emboldened to escalate their deadly violence.

We must continue to organize and demand accountability. But, most importantly, we must work to bring about the day when the fundamental right of Black Americans to participate in our democracy, whether by voting or demonstrating, is not threatened by legislation, intimidation, or violence.

Alexandria Harris, Esq. is the Executive Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation and a graduate of Spelman College and Harvard Law.

This is an opinion piece that does not necessarily represent the view of BLACK ENTERPRISE.


Voter Intimidation and the Specter of Fraud

Tia was planning on voting until she met Winn and learned that she would be committing a crime.

Winn told her the story about a woman in Texas who was arrested and sentenced to five years prison time — pending appeal — for unknowingly voting illegally. Crystal Mason was on supervised release from prison for felony tax evasion by state law she was not eligible to vote, though she didn’t know it. She was surprised she wasn’t on the voter rolls and cast a provisional ballot. Three months later, Mason was called into court, arrested, and charged with illegal voting.

In North Carolina, 12 people in one county were charged with voting illegally while on probation or parole. The local prosecutor decided to press charges although no other district attorney in the state took action in similar cases in their own counties. The people who voted while still on probation were allowed to vote and did so thinking they had the full right to do so, and then were punished for it months later.

When North Carolina’s State Board of Elections audited the election, it found 441 “open cases of voting by suspected active felons,” with 16 sent to prosecutors, out of 4.8 million votes cast.

In Georgia, cases of potential voting fraud by people still serving felony sentences are brought before the State Board of Elections each year. Sometimes, the cases are bound over to the district attorney’s office. These cases do not tend to be prosecuted, perhaps to the chagrin of board members, meeting minutes from 2017 show.

Photo credit: Office of the Secretary of State (PDF).

Before Winn went to vote Friday, she called the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections just to make sure she was eligible.

Fulton County’s voter registration manager, Ralph Jones, couldn’t answer Winn’s questions. The problem is, Winn owes restitution even though her case has been closed. At the state level in Georgia, it is not possible to owe restitution and close a case, or to close a case and still owe money.

In the end, he relied on the state’s voter rolls. Winn registered to vote months ago and hasn’t been removed.

“If you’re registered, I would say go ahead and vote because we clear the rolls every month,” Jones said. “If you’re still on there, you should be good.”


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32 comentários

Since President Obama was elected to office back in 2008.I had seen voters suppression tying to come back.My question is this ronald regan won twice big time.But no one said anything,there was no out cry of voters suppression. Clinton won twice but still no out cry of voters surppression.and now President Obama won big and now there is voters surppression laws trying to be enforced.Why? oh wait because he is black.My grandfather told me this 30 years ago.A white man shows up and say he went to harvard and yale and have masters in law and business,he was at the top of his class,and everybody takes his worded for it.A black man shows up and say he went to harvard and with to oxford have a phd and a master.everyone say prove it.and once the black man proves it,he have to prove it until the day he dies.

I think that this is a great article. It is much better and gives more information than most. I found it while trying to find a way to explain the Voting Rights Act to my daughter. It has been very helpful. The only problem I have with it is when it says blacks and whites, it many times neglects to say black men and white men. I am sure that the writers of this piece are fully aware that NO women were allowed to vote until way after men were all given the right to vote regardless of skin tone. The struggle for women’s suffrage went on and on as well with many heroes of its own, and atrocities as well (Alice Paul for one). I understand that this is on a Black Holocaust website, but I would think that the writers would want the clearest version of the truth presented. Half of the American Blacks you speak of are women as well. I thought you might want to revise this to include that.

Thank You :
Annie Sauter
Oneonta, NY
(Not far from Seneca Falls)

Thank you, Annie Sauter of Oneonta, NY. You have said what i would have liked to say, but you said it so much better. I would like to post some of your statement on my f/b page and will give credit to you- –
Jean Cottrell,
[email protected]

this didnt help me at all

i am so sorry for them but what gets me is that after all those years of slavery and now poeple are trying to do something about this

Thank you so much for the information it was very useful. – Billy Bob :D

Where is the part where the party that forced the voting rights act were Republicans? Sure Truman was a Democrat and signed it, but it was also a fact and well-known that Truman was STRONGLY against it. It should be noted that most ALL significant civil rights legislation was passed and supported by….Republicans. ONLY after this act passed and most obstacles to voting were removed did the Democratic party become the “minority-loving” party? Porque? Obviously if they did not the Democratic party would have came to an end with blacks voting 100% for Republicans. See truth is Dems do not want to EVER have minority issues resolved. Porque? Because they have nothing else to run on as a party. Before all the civil rights legislation was passed, they ran on racism. the only reason they know pretend to support it is because they have to. They have done a perfect job of portraying themselves as the saviors and the GOP as the devil, when it is actually the opposite. Blacks have voted for Dems for decades and they have not done a thing. Republicans done far more. Reagan on his own, made MLK a national holiday. History proves this. Dems have minorities all fooled. They deceive them to get their vote and stay in power. Período. Do blacks and latinos want real change? Do what Stephen A Smith recently said and just once….blacks people all vote for Republicans because Dems take your voted for granted and never have to earn it. you want something done though? Support Republicans who most are very strong Christians who put God first and have renewed minds and are born-again and would certainly do the right thin, despite all the fears and BS the Democrats use to demonize them. Sure we cannot let millions of illegals come into the country, I am sorry latinos, but that is just poor way to run any nation. Many nations are building fences all over the world…cannot let people just go back and forth across borders. It is nothing against a particular race, religion, etc…it is just unacceptable and no nation in the world allows this. Republicans stand on principles that are built on the rock, which should be respected and supported. They are not racist, they are the opposite. Dems just say all this stuff to scare you to get your vote. PERÍODO. Absolutely true. Dems have historically been huge racists. Heck GOP could NOT win in the south! Are you blind? I hope so because foolish stupidity would be the alternative…STOP voting DEM, go to the GOP and say help us, we have been deceived by the wolf in sheeps clothing, the great deceivers…the Democratic party who fought tooth and nail against EVERY piece of civil rights legislation until the Republicans made the way….then we started voting for them and showed the Republicans no love and support for ALL they did?! Dont teach true history in schools no more. GOP got out and Dems omit all this from schools, make themselves look like saviors and good and push all their other ungodly ways while they are actually that same wolf….using the black vote and latino votes…they are snealy snakes…no doubt. keeping blacks in chains still by getting their votes to stay in power and not do a damn thing but talk like they are all about minorities. Dont do jack in reality! People are deceived and fooled and keeping their suppressors living like kings! Remember in 2012 election how the Dem leaders in Colorado talked about going and educating the idiots? meaning they can say whatever and yall will lap it up. They say one thing but do another…and yall vote for them over and over and over and over…wise up! Stop voting for ungodly suppressors who got minoroties in theor rich pockets. GOP are sensible and fair and loving and patriotic…for ALL! I promise you. All this is true. Want a united America? Get rid of the Dems and switch the the GOP and watch how things come together! Dems have NO CHOICE BUT TO DIVIDE US AND KEEP US DIVIDED! NEVER UNITE IS THEIR WHOLE MEAL TICKET TO GET MINORITY VOTES! WISE UP!

I think your only purpose in visiting and posting here is trolling.

Well said! It’s so sad that the party of oppression (Democratic) is masterfully portrayed by the media as the party promoting equality when in fact they’re promoting economic slavery by making people dependent on the government.

I see you’re a denier of the complete ideology shift between the two parties… sorry for you.

This is good information to let ALL people of Alkebulan know of the struggles we have been through, and is still going through to take our rightful place in the world, as earth’s rightful rulers. In the words of the Prophet Marcus Mosiah Garvey “Up you mighty Race, you shall accomplish what you WILL”

Voting rights in America have deteriorated over the years to the present 2016. Where voting rights were prohibited for Blacks now it is just plain useless to vote at all. Both parties have merged into a meaningless mass of rich people who make laws for the rich at the expense of everyone else. I support the only response to such a calamity and that is to not vote at all!


3. All-White Primaries

Picketers walking outside of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, demanding equal rights for Black Americans and an Anti-Jim Crow plank in the Party platform, July 12, 1948.

When literacy tests, poll taxes, grandfather clauses and the many other ways to circumvent the 15 th Amendment didn’t work to suppress Black voter turnout, white legislators in several southern states used all-white primaries to all but eliminate Black voters' presence in the electoral process.

In Texas, for example, the legislature gave the Democratic Party the authority to set its own rules. The party determined that it was for white voters only, excluding African Americans from its elections and effectively making local electoral politics dominated by one party that upheld Jim Crow laws.

After a white election official blocked a Black man, Lonnie E. Smith, the right to vote in the 1940 Texas Democratic primary, the NAACP's Thurgood Marshall and William H. Hastie challenged the case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Smith V. Allwright that the Texas white primary system was unconstitutional.

“The right to vote in a primary for the nomination of candidates without discrimination by the State…is a right secured by the Constitution,” said the court in its 8-1 decision.


1890 Mississippi State Convention

At the 1890 Mississippi State Convention a new constitution was adopted that included a literacy test and poll tax for eligible voters. Under the new literacy requirement, a potential voter had to be able to read any section of the Mississippi Constitution or understand any section when read to him, or give a reasonable interpretation of any section.

“There is no use to equivocate or lie about the matter,” said James Vardaman in 1890. Vardaman served in the Mississippi Legislature at the time of convention and later became governor of the state. “In Mississippi we have in our constitution legislated against the racial peculiarities of the Negro. . . . When that device fails, we will resort to something else.”

The impact of the legislation was swift. By 1910, registered voters among African Americans dropped to 15 percent in Virginia, and under 2 percent in both Alabama and Mississippi, according to historian, Donald G. Nieman, in his book Promises to Keep: African-Americans and The Constitutional Order, 1776 to the Present.


Voting Rights Of Black Americans Trampled By 'New Jim Crow,' Civil Rights Advocates Say

By most standards, Desmond Meade is an overachiever. The 46-year-old is a fourth-year law student at Florida International University. He made the 2013 dean’s list. And he’s about to start working as a regional coordinator for a national anti-violence organization.

But, barring some unforeseen policy change, he won’t ever get the chance to practice law in his state. And this promising, African-American law student isn't allowed to vote.

Nearly two decades ago, after a struggle with drugs and alcohol led to a series of run-ins with the law, Meade served three years in prison. In 2005, he checked himself into a substance abuse program and stopped using drugs. Yet, because of a policy adopted by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in 2011, he is prohibited not only from voting, but also from serving on a jury and becoming a member of the Florida bar.

“I was in prison because I had an addiction to drugs and alcohol," he said. "Should I be ostracized for the rest of my life because I fell victim to the grip of addiction? No. Should I pay the price for any crimes I committed? Yes, I should pay the price. But once I serve my time, I'm still an American."

It’s a story told time and again in this country, even in 2013: A nonviolent offense brands someone a felon and strips them of their voting rights, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

More than a million of these disenfranchised Americans are black. Felony convictions restrict 13 percent of the country's black male population from voting, prompting critics to portray felon disenfranchisement as an heir to the voter-suppression tactics of the Jim Crow era. Back then, black people eager to cast their ballots encountered poll taxes, literacy tests and violence. Today, the mechanisms of disenfranchisement may be more sophisticated, but they can be just as oppressive, civil rights leaders say.

More than 30 states have passed laws in recent years requiring voters to display photo identification, which minorities and low-income Americans disproportionately lack. Just this week, North Carolina's Republican-dominated Senate approved a bill that would eliminate same-day voter registration, cut early voting by a week and require all voters to show specific forms of state-issued ID at the polls.

Then there’s redistricting, the political maneuver by which elected officials redraw the boundaries of representation, often along partisan lines. Critics argue that this practice has diminished the electoral clout of those minorities who do vote. In North Carolina, the Republican majority that passed the new voting laws benefited from a 2011 redistricting scheme that placed more than a quarter of the state's black voters in newly divided precincts and transformed the Republicans' 7-6 congressional district edge into a steep 9-4 advantage.

Today's attempts to erode the voting power of minorities amount to "the same face with a different mask," said John Lewis, the long-serving Georgia congressman and civil rights icon, at a recent Senate hearing on the future of voting rights in America.

The modern barriers to civic participation are not confined to the South. Voter ID laws have taken root in northern battleground states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio, and Iowa has one of the most restrictive felon disenfranchisement policies on the books. (Along with Florida and Kentucky, the state denies the ballot to nearly everyone who has ever been convicted of a felony, including many non-violent drug offenders.)

Still, few civil rights supporters see eye to eye with the five U.S. Supreme Court justices who ruled in June's landmark case on the Voting Rights Act that the election policies of districts with troubling histories of discrimination no longer warrant special scrutiny from the federal government.

In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg listed eight examples of race-based discrimination in the South's recent history, including one in Waller County, Texas, where officials attempted to reduce early-voting hours at polling places near a historically black college.

"Hubris is a fit word for today's demolition of the VRA," she wrote.

Immediately after the ruling, officials in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas resurrected plans to pass laws that the federal government had previously deemed unconstitutional and discriminatory.

With fewer people in power to represent minorities and other low-income groups, lawmakers are less likely to invest in public schools or poverty programs, civil-rights advocates say. They’re less likely to support policies that help workers, like raising the minimum wage or requiring companies to offer paid sick leave to their employees. And they’re more likely to pass the same kinds of voting restrictions that arguably helped many of them gain power in the first place.

No ethnicity bears the brunt of these decisions more than blacks.

"There's a saying: When America catches a cold, black America gets pneumonia," said the Rev. Dr. William Barber, the head of the North Carolina branch of the NAACP and a progressive leader who helped spawn a local protest movement aimed at the state’s new voting laws and other conservative policies.

"Whatever pain Americans feel when the franchise of voting is suppressed," he said. "African-Americans feel it even more, in the kinds of public policy that are the result of not having a broader and deeper electorate."

It's hard to know exactly how many people have already been disenfranchised by voting laws across the country. Last week, in a trial over Pennsylvania's voter ID law, a statistician testified that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians lacked the identification documents needed to cast a ballot. Some observers place the national number in the millions others say those figures are inflated.

Less disputed is the size of the disenfranchised felon population. "You're really locking out five or six million poor people from the electoral process," said Christopher Uggen, one of the authors of "Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy." "Their votes don't count and the major parties don't have to attend to their preferences."

Not everyone sees shades of Jim Crow in today's voting laws and criminal justice policies. Hans von Spakovsky, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation and one of the most prominent boosters of voter ID laws, dismissed the comparison as "ridiculous."

A former election official from Alabama, von Spakovsky lauds voter ID legislation as "just one of a number of steps that we should take to protect the integrity of the election." Although his opponents contend that there's little evidence of pervasive voter fraud at the polls, von Spakovsky insists that his motivations are practical, not political.

"There might be some people with a bad motive," but in general, he said, the conservative proponents of these laws are "truly concerned" about fraud.

In recent years, bipartisan efforts to end felon disenfranchisement have gained traction in several states. In Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell has begun restoring voting rights to certain nonviolent ex-offenders who've served out their sentences. And the decriminalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington in 2012 signaled the possibility of a broader change in the drug laws that have incarcerated so many blacks.

In mid-July, both houses of Congress held hearings on the future of the Voting Rights Act. Still, it's hard to imagine that one of the most polarized Congress in modern times will reach an agreement anytime soon. Certainly, von Spakovsky's presence as a witness at the House hearing did not strike many civil-rights advocates as a promising sign.

To Barber, the recent voting laws amount to an assault not just on blacks but on democracy itself. But as he points out, even the hardships of the Jim Crow era eventually gave way to progressive reforms.

Today's right-wing leaders are "trying to do everything they can to slow down a future they can't stop," he says. "They know that the demographics have shifted. They no longer control the South. They no longer control the nation. They can put a roadblock up and do some harsh things right now, but I have hope that ultimately the spirit of reconstruction and justice is going to win."


‘African Americans and the Vote’ is the theme for Black History Month in 2020

February is Black History Month, when Americans reflect on the significant roles that African Americans have played in United States history. This year&rsquos theme, &lsquoAfrican Americans and the Vote,&rsquo prompts Francille Rusan Wilson and Oneka LaBennett of USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences to comment on voter suppression and the need for advocacy for black Americans beyond Black History Month.

What the vote means to African Americans

Francille Rusan Wilson, associate professor of American studies and ethnicity, history, and gender and sexuality studies, studies the intersections between black labor movements, black social scientists, and black women's history during the Jim Crow era. She also is the immediate past president of the Association of Black Women Historians.

Wilson notes the timeliness of this year&rsquos theme.

&ldquoBlack History Month&rsquos theme in 2020, &lsquoAfrican Americans and the Vote,&rsquo recognizes the long and ongoing struggle of black Americans to exercise their rights as citizens, including voting, testifying in court and serving on juries,&rdquo she said. &ldquoIt also marks the sesquicentennial of the 15th Amendment, the centennial of the 19th Amendment and 55 years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

&ldquoToday, the theme is particularly timely as African Americans face voter suppression laws in more than 30 states that are aimed at black voters as well as women, the poor, rural and elderly voters. Black History Month was launched nationwide in 1926 as Negro History Week by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), which continues to set the annual black history theme. In Los Angeles, the local branch of ASALH, Our Authors Study Club, has led the city&rsquos official recognition of the black history month since the 1950s.&rdquo

Who&rsquos paying lip service to black history?

Oneka LaBennett, associate professor of American studies and ethnicity, is author of She&rsquos Mad Real: Popular Culture and West Indian Girls in Brooklyn and an editor of Formação Racial no Século XXI. Elle Magazine ranked her &ldquoWomen in Hip Hop&rdquo course among the top 10 &ldquoCollege Classes that Give Us Hope for the Next Generation.&rdquo

LaBenett marks the need for extending advocacy beyond February.

&ldquoFor those of us in the trenches of black studies and social justice, every month is Black History Month. However, every year folks who are not routinely attuned to the socio-political issues African Americans face can come off as paying lip service during February,&rdquo she said.

& ldquoPor exemplo, o mês começou com o presidente Trump e o candidato democrata Michael Bloomberg exibindo anúncios do Super Bowl com mulheres negras em uma tentativa transparente de atrair esse cobiçado e significativo bloco eleitoral. As críticas que seus anúncios enfrentaram talvez sinalizem uma lição mais ampla não apenas para aqueles que buscam a presidência, mas para todos os que expressaram apoio às questões negras durante o mês de fevereiro: A verdadeira defesa dos afro-americanos não pode ser feita em comerciais de 60 segundos nem dentro dos limites do ano & rsquos mês mais curto. & rdquo