While the views and racist opinions of the Delegates who drafted and ratified our 1902 Constitution were certainly nothing out of the ordinary for the time - their beliefs live on in Virginia’s constitution to this day. Make no mistake - it was not an accident that Black voter turnout dropped by 90% in the first election following the document’s ratification. The next slides will make that clear through the Delegate’s own words. The impact of this constitution on Black disenfranchisement cannot be understated. The most devastating suppression tactics ratified in this document were the reinstatement of the cumulative poll tax, the grandfather clause, the understanding clause, the literacy test, and the addition of “any felony” to the list of disqualifying reasons that would trigger a loss to vote.
Interact with the image below by clicking on the highlighted convention members. After clicking, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the image for quotes.