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Sun Jun 30, 2013, 05:31 PM

Take the Impossible "Literacy" Test Louisiana Gave Black Voters in the 1960s

tweeted by, Marisa Bowe ‏@MarisaBowe 37m
Take the Impossible "Literacy" Test Louisiana Gave Black Voters in the 1960s http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2013/06/28/voting_rights_and_the_supreme_court_the_impossible_literacy_test_louisiana.html


____ Most of the tests collected here are a battery of trivia questions related to civic procedure and citizenship. (Two from the Alabama test: “Name the attorney general of the United States” and “Can you be imprisoned, under Alabama law, for a debt?”)

But this Louisiana “literacy” test, singular among its fellows, has nothing to do with citizenship. Designed to put the applicant through mental contortions, the test's questions are often confusingly worded. If some of them seem unanswerable, that effect was intentional. The (white) registrar would be the ultimate judge of whether an answer was correct.

Try this one: “Write every other word in this first line and print every third word in same line (original type smaller and first line ended at comma) but capitalize the fifth word that you write.”

Or this: “Write right from the left to the right as you see it spelled here.”





read more/view more photocopies of actual tests: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2013/06/28/voting_rights_and_the_supreme_court_the_impossible_literacy_test_louisiana.html

Louisiana Voter Literacy Test, circa 1964. Via the Civil Right Movement Veterans website

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Reply Take the Impossible "Literacy" Test Louisiana Gave Black Voters in the 1960s (Original post)
bigtree Jun 2013 OP
arcane1 Jun 2013 #1
Liberal_in_LA Jun 2013 #2
cutroot Jun 2013 #3
yardwork Jun 2013 #4
grok Jun 2013 #8
CakeGrrl Jun 2013 #5
lpbk2713 Jun 2013 #6
geek_sabre Jul 2013 #10
muriel_volestrangler Jun 2013 #7
geek_sabre Jun 2013 #9

Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 05:53 PM

1. "one wrong answer denotes failure of the test"????

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 05:54 PM

2. omg

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 06:24 PM

3. #13 on the 1963 test

13. Bad government in a democracy is possible if the people--

a. make wise votes.
b. forget to vote.
c. do not stay at home.

Correct answer b sends a very clear message.

Great post. Thank you for this.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 06:30 PM

4. Look at question #10. I have no idea how to answer that.

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Response to yardwork (Reply #4)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 06:50 PM

8. the way the test instructions are worded

 

each question and figures comprising it represent a small little universe from which the answer MUST be derived.

the word should be "last" the last letter is "t"

But the problem is that the person grading this test has to know the right answer to it also. I don't know about that.


This a test designed to be failed.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 06:33 PM

5. Could the message to the voter be any clearer?

"Good luck trying to vote HERE."

The registrars probably couldn't answer the questions any better.

Disgusting.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 06:38 PM

6. Shit-for-Brains would have failed miserably.




They should have made in him take in order to qualify for the Y2K Selection.





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Response to lpbk2713 (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 1, 2013, 12:12 AM

10. No, he would have passed.

If he got every one wrong, he would have passed. Because he's white.

If both he and a black person wrote identical answers for each question, he would pass, and the black person would fail.

Its not just the ridiculousness of the questions, the grading was heavily biased in such a way that any answer, no matter how absurd, from a white person would be acceptable, and any answer, no matter how logical, from a black person would be unacceptable.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 06:41 PM

7. I'd say the person who wrote #11 has failed a literacy test themselves

It doesn't make sense as an instruction. Should it have read "cross out the numerals necessary to make the number below one million"? Even then, there are multiple correct answers. You could cross out the 1, for instance. Or '10'. Or '100', and so on. Or cross out several zeroes on the right.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 10:41 PM

9. It gets better. #20

Spell backwards, forwards.

Read all 30 questions, then read more about how blacks were further graded unfairly versus whites here:

http://www.crmvet.org/nars/schwartz.htm#corelittest

For #20:
If a Black person spelled "backwards" but omitted the comma, he/she would be flunked. If a Black person spelled "backwards," he/she would be flunked. If a Black person asked why, he/she would be told either "you forgot the comma," or "you shouldn't have included the comma," or "you should have spelled 'backwards, forwards'". Any plausible response by a white person would be accepted, and so would any implausible response.

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