White primaries were primary elections in the Southern States of the United States of America in which any non-White voter was prohibited from participating. White primaries were found in many Southern States after 1890 about until 1944. The United States Supreme Court initially held that the white primary was constitutional, but decided nine years later that the white primary did violate the Constitution.
Establishment and significance of white primaries
The use of white primaries were first used by Southern Democratic Parties in the late 19th century. Since the South was virtually a one-party system with Democrats being the dominant party, exclusion from the primaries was a de facto exclusion from the decision-making process. The white primaries were made law in many states in a "selectively inclusive" system that stated that only whites might vote in the primaries—or by legally considering the general election as the only state-held election and giving the party control of the decision-making process within the party.
The American Civil Liberties Union had begun to challenge white primaries in the 1920s, but didn't get much traction until a 1923 Texas law was passed. The Texas law explicitly banned African-Americans from participating in Democratic Party primaries. This was the specific constitutional violation that the ACLU chose to base its main case upon.
After Smith v. Allwright
The ACLU success in Smith v. Allwright only specifically applied to the Texas law. However, most states ended their selectively inclusive white primaries. Tens of thousands of African-Americans registered to vote with the end of white primaries. However, many states still used many discriminatory practices, including poll taxes and literacy tests to keep African-Americans from voting.
- Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Voting Rights Act
- History of the United States Democratic Party#Civil Rights Movement
- Democratic National Convention
- Democratic National Convention of 1964
- Democratic National Convention of 1968
- Fannie Lou Hamer
- Solid South
- Tantamount to election
- Grovey v. Townsend, 295 U.S. 45 (1935)
- Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (1944)
- See White Primary, jrank.org[unreliable source?]
- Texas Politics - Smith v. Allwright (1944) - White Primaries
References and further reading
- Alilunas, Leo. "Legal Restrictions on the Negro in Politics: A Review of Negro Suffrage Policies Prior to 1915" The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 25, No. 2 (Apr., 1940), pp. 153–160
- Anders, Evan. "Boss Rule and Constituent Interests: South Texas Politics during the Progressive Era" Southwestern Historical Quarterly 84 (January 1981).
- Barr, Alwyn. Reconstruction to Reform: Texas Politics, 1876-1906 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971).
- Beth, L.P. "The White Primary and the Judicial Function in the United States. The Political Quarterly Vol. 29 No. 4 (October 1958), pp. 366–377.
- GreenbPrimary in Texas (Millwood, New York: KTO Press, 1979).
- David Montejano. Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987).
- Marshall, Thurgood. "The Rise and Collapse of the 'White Democratic Primary" The Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 26, No. 3; The Negro Voter in the South" (Summer, 1957), pp. 249-254.
- Overacker, Louise. "The Negro's Struggle for Participation in Primary Elections" The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Jan., 1945), pp. 54-61.
- Parker, Albert. "Dictatorship in the South." Fourth International, Vol.2 No.4, May 1941, pp. 115–118.(May 1941)
- Kennedy, Stetson. Jim Crow Guide Florida Atlantic University,(Boca Raton). (March 1990) ISBN 978-0-8130-0987-2