Mississippi Plan

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MISSISSIPPI PLAN, the name given to two attempts in the South to disfranchise African Americans. The first Mississippi Plan arose in the 1870s after federal troops with drew from the southern states. On election day, bands of whites carrying firearms would menace black voters. The second, adopted by the Mississippi constitutional convention of 1890, required every citizen from twenty-one to sixty to display his poll tax receipt. It also required the would-be voter to both read and interpret the U.S. Constitution, allowing registration officials to discriminate between white and black illiterates. The Supreme Court upheld the practice in Williams v. Mississippi (1896), and six other southern states adopted similar suffrage provisions between 1895 and 1910. However, in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966), the Court invalidated the poll tax as a requirement for voting in state elections. Two years earlier, the Twenty-Fourth Amendment eliminated the poll tax in federal elections. These actions, along with federal legislation passed in 1957, 1960, 1964, and 1965, have neutralized the Mississippi Plan as an instrument for disfranchisement.


Berry, Mary Frances. Black Resistance, White Law: A History of Constitutional Racism in America. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1971; New York: Lane, Penguin, 1994.

Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Perman, Michael. The Road to Redemption: Southern Politics, 1869–1879. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984.

Woodward, C. Vann. The Strange Career of Jim Crow. New York: Oxford University Press, 1957, 1965, 1966.

Gerald M.CapersJr.

Oscar S.Dooley/a. r.

See alsoCivil Rights Act of 1875 ; Disfranchisement ; South, the: The New South ; Suffrage: African American Suffrage .

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Mississippi Plan

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Mississippi Plan