Supreme Court Upholds Literacy Tests

1898

Southern states also impose literacy tests for voting, on the grounds that voters need to be educated to make good decisions. Because former slaves often have little education, and because white officials administer the tests, literacy tests exclude many African Americans from voting. In Williams v. Mississippi, the Supreme Court holds that Mississippi’s constitutional amendment requiring literacy tests does not violate the U.S. Constitution, as long as it is applied equally to all applicants.