During the Jim Crow era, a number of things were done to suppress the political power of blacks by preventing them from voting. Among the most important were:
- Literacy tests. These were meant largely as a way to prevent uneducated blacks from voting. They could also be manipulated by test givers to be hard for even educated blacks to pass.
- Poll taxes. By requiring people to pay to vote, these discouraged poor blacks from voting.
- White primaries. In some Southern states, political parties limited their primaries to white voters. The theory was that this was not governmental discrimination but legal discrimination by a private group (the political party).
- Intimidation. There were instances of threats made to African Americans who tried to vote or to promote black political involvement.
All of these things were done to suppress black political power.