SPLC - Alabama woman, at 94, reflects on poll taxes, literacy tests and new efforts to limit voting
An important post by Booth Gunter at the Southern Poverty Law Center, on claims of Voter Fraud and attempts to disenfranchise minorities. Make sure you also watch the video where Dorothy Guilford explains what it was like for her back in the days of poll taxes in the Jim Crow south.
Dorothy Guilford has a simple message for politicians who enact laws making it harder for minorities, the poor and the elderly to vote: “I don’t think that’s right.”
She should know. She’s seen it all before.
Born in 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama, Guilford lived through most of the Jim Crow years, when laws discouraged African Americans like her, as well as poor white people, from voting.
When she first became eligible to vote, she had to take a literacy test and pay a poll tax of $1.50, a sum worth about $25 today. Anyone who couldn’t read or couldn’t pay the tax, which accumulated, couldn’t vote. Most white voters, however - those whose ancestors were on the voting rolls prior to the Civil War - were exempt from the test.