How was African-Americans' right to suffrage compromised after Reconstruction ended?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

African Americans' right to vote was essentially taken completely away after Reconstruction ended.  It was not legal to simply take the right to vote away from them, so Southern whites found other ways.  These included:

  • Literacy tests.  These prevented illiterate blacks from voting and could be manipulated to prevent even those who could read.
  • Poll taxes.  By making people pay to vote, the Southern governments could prevent poor blacks from voting.
  • White primaries.  In this tactic, the political parties claimed to be private organizations that could prevent blacks from voting in their primaries.  Since the Democrats won essentially all elections in the South in those days, this prevented blacks from voting in any meaningful elections.

In these ways, it became essentially impossible for African Americans to vote.