“Legitimacy vs. Literacy” Test

Alabama voting literacy test during Jim Crow

In Part “A” of a typical Alabama literacy test, the applicant was given a selection of the Constitution to read aloud. The registrar could assign a long complex section filled with legalese and convoluted sentences, or he could select a simple one or two sentence section. For example, a white applicant might be given:

SECTION 20: That no person shall be imprisoned for debt.

While a Black applicant might be given:

SECTION 260: The income arising from the sixteenth section trust fund, the surplus revenue fund, until it is called for by the United States government, and the funds enumerated in sections 257 and 258 of this Constitution, together with a special annual tax of thirty cents on each one hundred dollars of taxable property in this state, which the legislature shall levy, shall be applied to the support and maintenance of the public schools, and it shall be the duty of the legislature to increase the public school fund from time to time as the necessity therefor and the condition of the treasury and the resources of the state may justify; provided, that nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to authorize the legislature to levy in any one year a greater rate of state taxation for all purposes, including schools, than sixty-five cents on each one hundred dollars’ worth of taxable property; and provided further, that nothing herein contained shall prevent the legislature from first providing for the payment of the bonded indebtedness of the state and interest thereon out of all the revenue of the state.

The Registrar marked each word that in his opinion you mispronounced. In some counties, you had to orally interpret the section to the registrar’s satisfaction. You then had to either copy out by hand a section of the Constitution, or write it down from dictation as the registrar spoke (mumbled) it. White applicants usually were allowed to copy, Black applicants usually had to take dictation. The Registrar then judged whether you were “literate” or “illiterate.” His judgement was final and could not be appealed.

The aforementioned serves to share a real sample of how the State of Alabama implemented its’ Jim Crow practices.  If not identified Jim Crow practices act as a swinging door where such activities come back the other way, but unlike a real door it looks different than it did when it was first pushed out of the way.  Today, different Jim Crow practices can be seen limiting access to American economic development opportunities through just as egregious methods as those used for literacy test disguised as legitimacy verifications.

Corporations have trained well compensated managers to enforce rules and procedures to defend barriers to entry where any enterprise (person) claiming minority-owned business enterprises status that they must first qualify to choose (vote) their ability to compete for contract awards.  In contrast, any white-owned business enterprise is fully excluded from such verification (test) and can pass GO (General Orders) over to money opportunities, without delay from a background check.

Whites are not struggling or even attempting to get through this door of minority status.  Mainly because they are doing fine being white.  For those that have slightly some challenge believing that the corporate America wished to shift their choice toward a minority enterprise, they seek out white women leadership to take over the reins of power by giving them a fresh start to engage in major contracting.  Uniquely powerful in this situation is that these women owned firms are never part of the solution to reform or improve the socioeconomic conditions for which the programs of diverse supplier management were inaugurated to improve.