Celebrating Black History Month with a related post each day of February.

The state office building has a “Jim Crow voting obstacle course” in its atrium for Black History Month. Each station explains one of the obstacles, and the choice it poses. You could skip the obstacle; for example, if you skip the “literacy test,” the good news is you’re spared humiliation. The bad news is you don’t get to vote.

The exhibit has polls set up where you can take the literacy test used in Alabama in 1965. There are 68 questions. It was up to the sheriff which questions to ask, and how many. That way, he could ask some people “What branch of government does the US Supreme Court belong to: executive, legislative, or judiciary?” and others, well, all 68. White voters usually didn’t have to take the test anyway, since a grandfather clause provided that anyone descended from a pre-1867 voter was exempt from new voting restrictions.

I said to the woman standing at the next poll, “This is a great exhibit.”

“Awesome,” she said, with feeling.

I took the test and got 49 right: 72%, a passing grade, I guess, since I’m white.  Try it and post how you do!

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