1964 Literacy Test - (designed to be failed)

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1964 Literacy Test - (designed to be failed)

Postby chaos » Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:43 pm

Dear God. I had no idea how these tests were structured: There are thirty questions (written in Ettynese :lol: ) where you have 10 minutes to get ALL of them correct in order to pass.





Harvard students take the 1964 Louisiana Literacy Test that black voters had to pass before being allowed to go to the polls - and every single person FAILED

PUBLISHED: 02:02 EST, 12 November 2014 | UPDATED: 17:20 EST, 12 November 2014

A group of Harvard students were recently asked by their tutor to sit the 1964 Louisiana Literacy Test - a notorious document with confusing questions that was used to stop black citizens from voting.

Just 50 years ago, states in the South asked voters who couldn't provide proof of a fifth grade education to pass the test in order to be eligible to cast a ballot.

The test was intended to disenfranchise African-Americans, who in order to pass had to correctly answer all 30 questions in 10 minutes.

Despite their Ivy League pedigree, none of the students managed to pass the test and their reactions as they struggled to make sense of the obtuse questions was filmed.

According to Carl Miller, a resident tutor at Harvard and a fellow at the law school, the purpose of sitting the test was to learn about how unjustly rigged the electoral process was at that time.

'Exactly 50 years ago, states in the American South issued this exact test to any voter who could not "prove a fifth grade education,'" said Miller.

'Unsurprisingly, the only people who ever saw this test were blacks and, to a lesser extent, poor whites trying to vote in the South.'

With his video experiment, Miller thought it would be interesting to see if some of the 'brightest young minds in the world' could pass a literacy exam meant to prove that a person had at least a fifth-grade education.

Miller said not a single one of his student passed the exam, because it was designed in such a way that each question could be interpreted as wrong by the registrar official looking over the answers.

'Louisiana’s literacy test was designed to be failed. Just like all the other literacy tests issued in the South at the time, this test was not about testing literacy at all. It was a legitimate sounding, but devious measure that the State of Louisiana used to disenfranchise people that had the wrong skin tone or belonged to the wrong social class,' he said.

'And just like that, countless black and poor white voters in the South were disenfranchised.'

He hopes his students will now appreciate the importance of exercising their constitutional right to vote.

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