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Literacy Tests: The Louisiana Literacy Test

Louisiana and written tests

In addition to the poll tax and the grandfather clause, Louisiana had a literacy test. The one below was called a Citizenship Test.

The Test Form

            

                                               DO NOT WRITE ON THIS CARD                       Form No. l


Applicant must correctly answer any four of the following six questions so as to evidence an elemental knowledge of the Constitution and Government, an attachment thereto, and a simple understanding of the obligations of citizenship under a republican form of government.


                             1. The church that we attend is chosen--
                                            a. by the National Government.
                                            b. by ourselves.
                                            c. by the Congress.
                             2. The President must be at least--
                                            a. twenty-five years old.
                                            b. thirty years old.
                                            c. thirty-five years bid.
                             3. It is important for every voter--
                                             a. to vote as others tell him to vote.
                                             b. to vote for the most popular candidates.
                                             c. to vote for the best qualified candidates.
                             4. The name of our first President was--
                                             a. John Adams.
                                             b. George Washington.
                                             c. Alexander Hamilton.
                              5. The Constitution of the United States places the final authority in
                                   our Nation in the hands of--
                                             a. the national courts.
                                             b. the States.
                                             c. the people.
                              6. The President of the Senate gets his office--
                                             a. by election by the people.
                                             b. by election by the Senate.
                                             c. by appointment by the President.


Applicant's answers must be provided on Form No. 11 furnished by the Registrar for permanent record

This card must be returned to the Registrar.

Forms

Potential voters were given one of ten possible cards. Each card had six questions. Some questions were used more than once on the cards. For example, the question "The name of our first President" was used on every card. The question "Limits are placed on the right to vote by" was used on four cards.

Tangipahoa Parish

At one time, a website dedicated to Civil Rights Movement Veterans displayed a "brain-twister" type literacy test that was used during the summer of 1964 in Tangipahoa Parish and possibly elsewhere in Louisiana. But they took it down.  "We removed it from this website because it was not representative of the Louisiana tests in broad use during the 1950s and '60s." The link to the test is included here because the test has become famous, even though it was not widely used.