Voting in the South Before 1965: Document Links

This resource is drawn from Facing History's Boston Public Schools Civil Rights Curriculum 

Unit 2, Lesson 1: Document Links on Website 

Document 1: Quotations by Southern whites (Document no longer available online)

  • William Simmons, spokesman for Mississippi White Citizens’ Council
  • Hodding Carter, editor–publisher of the Delta Democrat, Greenville, Mississippi,  quoted in the Delta Democrat Times, Greenville, Mississippi, February 10.

Document 2: “A Soldier Who Came Home to Die,” Ray Sprigle, 1948, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Document 3: “1964: Three Civil Rights Activists Found Dead,” BBC News
Document 4: Trying to Vote in Mississippi (from Eyes on the Prize study guide), p. 69.

Document 5: “Part of the Government Activity”: Testimony from an African-American Taxpayer 
Unable to Vote in Alabama

Document 6: “There Was a Purpose in My Being There,” 
Mr. Gustave Hulkower, Tucson, Arizona, white civil rights activist  Reading: There Was a Purpose in My Being There

Document 7: “I Didn’t Know Anything about Voting,” Fannie Lou Hamer on the Mississippi Voter 
Registration Campaign (audio and text file)

Document 8: Voter registration posters

Document 9: Mississippi Freedom Summer images

Document 10: PBS: The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow—Voting Then and Now Activity (includes literacy 

Document 11: Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution

Document 12: The Enforcement Acts (scroll down to the Enforcement Act of 1870 and the Civil 
Rights Act of 1871)
Document 13: Statistics on voter turnout and elected representatives:
Voter Registration Rates (1965 vs. 1988) 
Number of Black Southern Legislators, 1868–1900 and 1960–1992

Additional Background information

Document 14: United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, “Before the Voting 
Rights Act” 
Document 15: Fighting Back: A Black Lawyer Argues Against Disenfranchisement—Early Evidence 
of Voter Discrimination After the Passage of the Fifteenth Amendment
Document 16: Mississippi and Freedom Summer
Document 17: United States Voting Rights timelines

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