poll tax

poll tax

Exercising the Franchise

2d ago
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1964: The Poll Tax is Abolished The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified fifty years ago, abolished the poll tax in federal elections. At the time five states -- Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi -- still had a poll tax, one of the most widespread methods of suppressing African-American votes. All poll taxes were abolished by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966. Florida was the first state to adopt a poll tax, in 1889. The $2.00 tax was applied to everyone regardless of race, but many disenfranchised whites frequently found ways around the law. The poll tax lasted almost half a century, abolished in 1938 largely because political operatives were trying to pay for votes by paying the tax. Florida senator Spessard Holland struck a blow against the poll tax, proposing a constitutional amendment to abolish it. But no such amendment would pass for more than a decade. This footage of African-Americans registering to vote and voting in Broward County dates from 1963 and 1964. The election shown here was a primary on May 5, 1964. It's doubtful that the poll tax was the issue that got film of African-Americans voting on the nightly news -- anybody out there have an idea of what was happening in Broward County in the early 1960s that might have prompted these stories? If so, drop us a line in the comments or on our Facebook page. This video and audio is copyrighted/owned by the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives. Subscribe to the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives' YouTube channel and tune in to the fascination and fun of Miami and Florida's past, captured on film and video and preserved by the Wolfson Archives at Miami Dade College.