Voting has never been a simple matter of casting a ballot. For many Americans, local corruption meant that even when they were granted the right to vote they were still denied it. Sadly, education plays a role, too. In the 1950s and 60s, some states like Louisiana instituted literacy tests as a way to prevent some citizens from voting. As shared on Slate, one test shows 30 questions, 10 minutes to complete, and one single wrong answer results in failure. The instructions state, “This test is to be given to anyone who cannot prove a fifth grade education.” Consider for a moment what kind of proof would be needed and who in the South at this time in history might have had trouble producing “acceptable” documentation.
When people today voice concerns that education is perpetuating racial and economic inequity, they are saying so not out of overreaction or unfounded panic. There’s a historical precedent. It looks like this:
Read the rest of the test on Slate.
Photo by justgrimes