— EJI Staff, EJI, Equal Justice Initiative
On September 3, 1901, Alabama adopted a new state constitution that prohibited interracial marriage and mandated separate schools for Black and white children. The state constitutional convention’s primary purpose was to legally disenfranchise Black voters and the new constitution also included several electoral policies designed to suppress Black political power.
Framers of this constitution knew that, because the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited race-based disenfranchisement, discriminatory constitutional provisions intended to maintain white supremacy had to appear race-neutral. To that end, the new constitution called for the appointment of three registrars from each county, who had wide discretion when accepting registration applications, and were chosen and trained to minimize registration by African Americans.