June 21, 1915

On June 21, 1915, the US Supreme Court handed down its decision in Guinn vs United States and struck down Oklahoma’s grandfather clause which had the effect of denying the right to vote to black people. When Oklahoma was admitted as a state in 1907, its state constitution allowed men of all races to vote, satisfying the compliance with the Fifteenth Amendment. It soon, however, passed a state amendment that required voters to pass a literacy test. A potential voter could be exempted from the literacy requirement if he could prove either of his grandfathers had been voters, had been citizens of a foreign country, or had been a soldier before 1866. This resulted in illiterate whites being able to vote, but it in effect barred all blacks from voting. This just showed that a war could be fought and racism and bigotry could be beaten back a little bit, but it would continue to raise its ugly head like an angry hydra, seeking new outlets to deny others basic rights, just because they don’t look, love, or pray like the majority. Why you ask? Because there is more immediate power and wealth in hate and anger than there is in love, understanding and education.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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