Describe the things that whites in the South did as part of the Jim Crow system in the late 19th Century to suppress the political power of blacks.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.