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Recalling an Era When the Color of Your Skin Meant You Paid to Vote | Smithsonian Magazine (2016)

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Recalling an Era When the Color of Your Skin Meant You Paid to Vote | Smithsonian Magazine (2016)

Poll Tax, Voter Suppression, African American History, Black History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, Willoughby Avenue, Wriit,

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of a ruling that made the poll tax unconstitutional

By Allison Keyes, Smithsonian Magazine

In January 1955 in Hardin County, Texas, Leo Carr had to pay $1.50 to vote. That receipt for Carr’s “poll tax” now resides in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In today’s dollars, Carr paid roughly $13.

“It’s a day’s wages,” explains William Pretzer, the museum’s senior history curator. “You’re asking someone to pay a day’s wages in order to be able to vote.”

Pretzer says the museum accepted the donation of the receipt from Carr’s family in 2012 as a vivid and a significant example of the way that voting rights were denied to African Americans. Poll taxes, quite simply a tax to pay to vote, were enacted in the post-reconstruction era from the late 19th to the very early 20th century. But they remained in effect until the 1960s.

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Juneteenth, African American History, Black History, American History, U.S. History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, Willoughby Avenue, Wriit,

Featured Image, James Estrin for The New York Times
Full article @ Smithsonian Magazine

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