Voting Rights & Literacy Test Resources

This page provides links to Civil Rights Movement Archive resources that have significant content related to voting rights and literacy tests.

Contents:
Photos
Literacy Tests & Voter Applications
CRMA History Articles About Voting Rights
Speeches and Articles About Voting Rights
Original Documents Related to Voting Rights
Commentaries & Analyses by Movement Veterans
Film, Video and Audio

 

Photos

Photo Album pages that include images of voting rights protests and voter registration campaigns:

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Down to the Grassroots

Mississippi: Into the Storm

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle

Freedom Summer

Selma, Lord, Selma

March to Montgomery

SCOPE Project, 1965

Before I'll Be a Slave...

Meredith Mississippi March, 1966

Grenada Freedom Movement, 1966

Freedom Movement Posters

 

Literacy Tests & Voter Applications

Voting Rights: Are You "Qualified" to Vote?
Take a "Literacy Test" to Find Out

Introduction: the Literacy Test System

Alabama

Voter Registration in Alabama (c.1965)

Alabama Voter Application Form (c.1965)

Alabama Voter Literacy Test (c.1965)

Georgia

Voter Registration in Georgia (c.1963)

Summary of Georgia's New Registration Law (c.1958)

It's Easy to Register! (Georgia voter registration training, the "30 Questions")

Sumter Character Test (Sumter County GA voter registration training, 1963)

SCLC Citizenship Clinic Manual: Georgia Voter Registration (c.1962)

Louisiana:

Louisiana Voter Application & Literacy Test (c.1963)

Instructions to Louisiana Registrars (c.1963 or 1964)

Negro Voting in Louisiana, Baton Rouge Committee on Registration Education. Undated (probably 1963 or 1964)

CORE Voter Training Instructions (c.1964)

Mississippi

Voter Registration in Mississippi

Mississippi Voter Application & Literacy Test (c.mid-1950s)

Literacy test questions & voting rights materials

Practice Mississippi voter registration form partially filled in by Percey Lee Brewer

South Carolina

South Carolina Voter Application (c.1964)

 

CRM History Articles About Voting Rights

CRMA history articles related to voting rights and literacy tests.

Voting Rights in America — Two Centuries of Struggle

Murder of Harry & Harriette Moore (Dec, 1951)

Citizenship Schools (1954-196?)

Rev. George Wesley Lee Murdered (May 1955)

Lamar Smith Murdered (Aug 1955)

Tuskegee Merchant Boycott (1957-1961)

SCLC Crusade for Citizenship, 1957-1960

Fayette County Tent City for Evicted Voters (1959-1963)

Dr. King, JFK, and the 1960 Election (Oct-Nov 1960)

Voter Education Project (VEP) (1961-1968)

Direct Action or Voter Registration? (1961)

Voter Registration & Direct Action in McComb MS (Aug-Oct 1961)

Herbert Lee Murdered (Sept 1961)

Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) Formed in Mississippi (1962)

Mississippi Voter Registration — Greenwood (1962)

Voter Registration Movement Expands in Mississippi (Spring) (1963)

Atrocity in Winona (June 1963)

Selma — Breaking the Grip of Fear (Jan-June 1963)

Struggle for the Vote Continues in Mississippi (July-Aug 1963)

Freedom Day in Selma (Oct 1963)

Freedom Ballot in MS (Oct-Nov 1963)

24th Amendment Ends Poll Tax in Federal Elections (Jan 1964)

Louis Allen Murdered (Jan 1964)

Freedom Day in Canton (1964

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) Founded (April 1964)

1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer (June-Aug 1964)

Lynching of Chaney, Schwerner, & Goodman (June 1964)

McComb — Breaking the Klan Siege (July '64-March '65)

MFDP Challenge to Democratic Convention (Aug 1964)

The Selma Injunction (July 1964)

MFDP Congressional Challenge (Nov '64-Sept '65)

Selma Voting Rights Campaign (Jan-Mar 1965)

The March to Montgomery (Mar 1965)

Murder and Character Assasination of Viola Liuzzo (Mar 1965)

Passage of the Voting Rights Act (Mar-Aug 1965)

Cracking Lowndes County (Mar-Aug 1965)

Jackson, MS Protests (June 1965)

Summer Community Organization Political Education Project (SCOPE 1965)

Murder of Jonathan Daniels (Aug 1965)

Natchez MS — Freedom Movement vs Ku Klux Klan (1965)

Birmingham Voter Registration Campaign (Dec-Mar 1965-66)

Julian Bond Denied Seat in GA Legislature (Jan 1966)

State Poll Taxes Ruled Unconsitutional (Mar 1966)

Lowndes County: Roar of the Panther (1966)

Grenada MS Freedom Movement (June-Dec 1966)

1966 Alabama Elections (1966)

 

Speeches and Articles About Voting Rights

Speeches and articles related to voting rights and literacy tests by Freedom activists in the 1950s-1960s.

1952Martyr for a Cause: Christmas Night Bomb Assasination of Harry Moore, Gloster Current, NAACP
54-66Literacy and Liberation, Septima P. Clark. Freedomways. (Citizenship schools)
1954Southern Negroes at the Ballot Box, Herbert Hill, NAACP. Crises
1962Senate testimony on literacy test bill, Roy Wilkins, NAACP.
1962Report on Voter Registration Work, Jack O'Dell, SCLC
1962Tennessee: How to Keep People From Voting , Jerry DeMuth. Gazette & Daily, York PA
1963SNCC Testimony, House Judiciary Committee re proposed voting rights bill
1963Go South, Young Man! Dennis Weeks Liberation magazine. (TN sharecroppers evicted for trying to vote)
1963SNCC: The Battle-Scarred Youngsters, Howard Zinn. The Nation
1963Registration in Alabama, Howard Zinn. New Republic (See Freedom Day in Selma for background.)
1963Birth of a Voter, Bob Adelman.
64-65Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), (Multiple articles)
1964Incident in Hattiesburg, Howard Zinn. The Nation
1964Address to West Coast Civil Right Conference, Bob Moses, COFO/SNCC
1964Mississippi Freedom Summer Articles. (Multiple articles)
1964Revelation in Mississippi, Elizabeth Sutherland, (Betita Martinez) SNCC. National Guardian
1964Fannie Lou Hamer's Testimony at Democratic Convention
1964Letter From Jackson re Freedom Summer, Calvin Trillin, New Yorker
1964Bob Moses Speech to National Guardian Dinner re MFDP Challenge to Democratic Convention
1964The Negro Vote: An Analysis, SNCC. (Re 1964 presidential vote in the South.)
1964The Murder of Three Civil Rights Workers, the Atlantic City Convention, and the Congressional Challenge, Robert Moses, SNCC/COFO
1965Selma Voting Rights Campaign & March to Montgomery (Multiple articles)
1965How Long? Not Long — Our God is Marching On! Dr. King's address voting rights marchers, Montgomery AL
1965The March on Montgomery, Margaret Long, SRC.
1965Lawrence Guyot's Testimony for Congressional Challenge
65-67Lowndes County Freedom Organization/Black Panther Party (Multiple articles)
1965When We Get the Vote, Wallace Will Get Religion (Montgomery), Bell Chivigny (Village Voice)

 

Original Documents Related to Voting Rights

Collections of original Freedom Movement documents related to voting rights and literacy tests.

Documents From the Voter Education Project (VEP)

Documents From the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) (MS)

Documents From the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MS)

Documents From the Freedom Summer Projects

SCLC's SCOPE Project Documents

Citizenship School Documents

Lowndes County, AL. Documents

Canton & Madison Co. MS. Documents

McComb & Pike Co. MS Documents

 

Commentaries & Analyses by Movement Veterans

Post-1960s commentaries, thoughts, and analyses by Movement veterans regarding voting rights and literacy tests.

1976How I Learned About the Right to VoteClassie McCullough (81)
2004Chaney, Schwerner, Goodman 40th Memorial
2005Georgia's Fraudulent Anti-Fraud Legislation  Julian Bond
2007Constitutional People, U.S. Senate testimonyBob Moses
2009Long Time Coming (Election of Obama)Wally Roberts
200921 Months (Election of Obama)Helen Singleton
2009"Atlantic City Revisited" — Mondale & "The Movement"  Mike Miller
2010Freedom is Not Free: The Meridian Movement of the Mid-60sSmith & Morse
2011You Came Here to Die, Didn't You?Jo Freeman
2012Lawrence Guyot's ThoughtsLawrence Guyot
2013Voting Rights Act: Friend of the Court BriefVMCRM
2013A Global Spotlight on Voter SuppressionRon Carver
2013Reaction to Supreme Court Overturning VRAMaria Gitin
2013Homily for the Jonathan Daniel PilgrimageGloria House
2013A Memory from ... when Viola Liuzzo Was Murdered  Peter de Lissovoy
2014Growing Up in Harlem (Mississippi Freedom Summer)Bob Moses
2014Founding SNCC and Taking on MississippiBob Moses
2014Fannie Lou Hamer and the Racist DixiecratsBob Moses
2014The Road to Freedom SummerBob Moses
2014An Earned Insurgency (The thinking behind Freedom Summer)Bob Moses
2014"We the People" Confront Democratic Party Leadership in '64Bob Moses
2014My Parents Said Yes!Chude Allen
2014Fannie Lou Hamer & the Democratic PartyMarsha Rose Joyner
2014The Mississippi Summer Project 50th Anniversary Notes ...Mike Miller
2014Address to Freedom Summer 50th CommemorationJulian Bond
2014The MFDP: 50 years Later a Time for EvaluationMike Miller
2015The Historical Context of Voting RightsBruce Hartford
2015Selma to Montgomery: But What About SNCC?Junius Williams
2015From Hawai'i to SelmaMarsha Rose Joyner
2015Call to Selma, a Review From the Bridge"Arkansas" Benston
2015Selma the Movie: Thoughts & Comments by Freedom Movement activists
2016St. Matthews, SC and Fifty-one YearsLynn Goldsmith Goldberg
2016Testimony to the Democratic Platform Committee on
Voting as a Constitution Right
Robert (Bob) Moses, SLP, SNCC
2018Selma: The Bridge and BeyondAlma Jean Billingslea Brown
2020Voter Suppression in Minority CommunitiesStatement by John Lewis
2020Voter Suppression in Minority CommunitiesTimothy Jenkins, testimony
2021Jim Crow Voting Laws ~ Then and NowBruce Hartford

 

Film, Video, Audio

Films & documentaries, videos, and audio recordings related to voting rights and literacy tests.

[Not all are available for online streaming. Some are accessed through Kanopy which requires library-card or college-ID log-in. Some are accessed through commercial straming platforms such as Prime.]

Films:

Dirt and Deeds in Mississippi, by California Newsreel, 2015. Weaves together interviews with civil rights activists, archival film footage, and original historical research to portray a key period of civil rights history leading up to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Not available for streaming.

Dream Deferred. SNCC, 1964. Produced for Freedom Summer (also available from Prime).

Fannie Lou Hamer's America, by From the Heart Productions. Documentary told through the public speeches, personal interviews, and powerful songs of the fearless Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human-rights-activist.

For Us the Living, 1983. Anchor Bay Entertainment. Story of Medgar Evers. Screenplay by Ossie Davis. Starring Howard Rollins, Jr., Irene Cara, Laurence Fishburne, and Paul Winfield. Not available for streaming.

Freedom On My Mind, California Newsreel, 1994. The story of the Mississippi freedom movement in the early 1960s when a handful of young activists changed history. Not available for streaming.

Freedom Song (TNT Movie). Fictional account of the Movement in Mississippi in the early '60s. Closely based on actual events in McComb, 1961. Well researched, and powerfully presented. Danny Glover stars. Live stream (BMETV)

Freedom Summer, Firelight Films. Documentary narrating events of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer. Live stream (YouTube)

The Freedom Summer Murders — Was It Worth It? (re Chaney, Schwerner, Goodman lynching), by two junior high students from New York City as National History Day Competition, 2019.

Home of the Brave, About Viola Luizzo the only white woman murdered in the civil rights movement in America and why we don't know who she is.

Iowans Return to Freedom Summer, by Keeping History Alive foundation. 2015. Firsthand accounts from six Freedom Summer volunteers from Iowa who reflect on their motivations, fears, triumphs and the life altering events that took place 50 years ago. Live stream (IPTV)

Louisiana Diary, KQED. Documentary that follows the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) as they undertake an African American voter registration drive in the town of Plaquemine, Louisiana, in 1963.

Mississippi Freedom Summer, 1964: Memory, Legacy & the Way Forward, by Civil Rights History Project Collection (LoC & NMAAHC). 4 hour discussion of the 1964 Freedom Summer project by Bob Moses, Dorie Ladner, Joyce Ladner and Charlie Cobb. 2014.

Organizing Lowndes County: Then & Now, April 2017. Roundtable discussion with Jennifer Lawson, Courtland Cox and Catherine Flowers.

Selma, Paramount Pictures, 2015. Powerful and moving historical drama about the historic 1965 Selma Voting Rights campiagn and March to Montgomery.

Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot, Teaching Tolerance. Documentary about a group of students and teachers who nonviolently fought to win voting rights for African Americans in the South.

Selma, Lord, Selma. Film made from the book of the same name about Selma's "youngest freedom fighters," Sheyann age 8, and Rachel age 9.

Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change. (Alabama Public Television.)

Streets Of Greenwood, by Jack Willis and Ed Emshwiller, 1962. Documentary about SNCC's voter registration efforts in Greenwood MS. 20 minutes.

Voting rights protests Montgomery (raw footage), by newsmedia? police?, Silent.

The Way to Freedom: Selma and the Making of a Movement, by NPS, 2020. The story of courageous ordinary citizens — many of them teenagers — who successfully challenged racism, bigotry, and entrenched power in Selma, Alabama in the 1960s to gain the right to vote. Narrated by "unsung heroes" of the voting rights movement in Selma and Marion, Alabama.

Videos:

Freddie Greene Biddle, 90-min interview by Emilye Crosby about SNCC & the Mississippi movement. 2015.

Walter Bruce, 85-min interview by John Dittmer about Mississippi movement & Freedom Summer, 2011.

Robert Clark, 118-min interview by John Dittmer about Mississippi & election to office.

Peggy Jean Connor, 81-min interview by Emilye Crosby about Mississippi, COFO, MFDP, and NAACP 2015.

Glenda Funchess, 84-min interview by Emilye Crosby about Hattiesburg Mississippi and the movement, 2015.

Bruce Hartford, Selma and the Long Struggle for Voting Rights. 10-minue address to the John Lewis Memorial, "Good Trouble Vigil for Democracy." Oakland, CA. July 2021.

Jesse Hill, one-hour interview about 1950s voter registration in Atlanta, student movement, and SNCC. 2005.

Willie B. Wazir Peacock: Stand for Freedom, 1hour, 23 minutes.
The story of Willie Peacock, one of the original SNCC field secretaries organzing in the Mississippi Delta. (YouTube video.)

Zoharah Simmons, 97-minute interview by Joseph Mosnier about SNCC, Laurel MS, & the movement. 2011.

Euvester Simpson, 95-minute interview by John Dittmer about SNCC, COFO, MFDP and the movement in rural MS. 2013.

Lisa Anderson Todd, 169-minute interview by Emilye Crosby about SNCC & MFDP. 2013.

Hollis Watkins, 72-minute interview by Julian Bond oral history Project. 2019.

Junius Williams, 174-minute interview by Joseph Mosnier about SNCC, the March to Montgomery & the Movement. 2011.

Audio:

Fannie Lou Hamer: Roots of Her Activism. (History Channel)

Mississippi Becomes a Democracy. Story of voter registration, Freedom Summer, and the MFDP challenge in Atlantic City.

Mississippi Oral Histories (multiple oral-history recordings).


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