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Synthesizer: Voting Rights Time line

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Teacher/Instructor Chuck Raznikov
Chuck Raznikov

U.C.Berkeley
Teaching at a top-ranked high school in SF

He has been a teacher at Lo High School - a top-ranked high school in San Francisco - for over 20 years.

One of the ways to pull together large amounts of information, is to do graphic organizers. I like to do a graphic organizer on voting rights. Why do voting rights? Because one way or another, this is going to come up in your AP exam, free response, multiple choice questions. Court cases, interest groups, you know it’s going to be there.

In this one, we’ve got laws and amendments on top in the graphic organizer, underneath, we’re going to talk about some of the historical events that occurred, as a result of that. For example, after the civil war, in 1870, the 15th amendment guaranteed the right to vote for African Americans. Sounds simple, but as you remember from the course in your history course, that there was a tremendous push back to this. Grandfather clauses were put into law in several Southern States. If your grandfather didn’t vote, then you weren’t voting. And since African American grandfathers didn’t vote, well you get the picture.

Secondly, literacy tests were passed in several of the states. You had to be able to read and write. Sounds reasonable right? But in Alabama, a hundred question literacy test, if you missed one, that means you’re not voting and guess who didn’t get to pass those tests?

Finally, poll taxes were instituted in a number of states to try to limit the rights of African Americans. In addition to this, I might even include the Ku Klux Klan which came about the same time, or the Black Codes, or the Jim Crow Laws. You get the picture here.

What I’d like you to do, is to go the bonus materials and download the graphic organizer. And then, keep working on the 20th century. There are a number of voting rights amendments as you know. The 17th amendment, the 19th, the 23rd, the 24th, the 26th as well, and don’t forget the voting rights Act of 1965. But also, underneath the line, what is the push back? How do people try to narrow the rights of individuals who’re voting? Think about the court cases that you know, and how people have had to fight for those rights. Think about the social struggles, the ebb and flow, the give and take. These are the kinds of things that I think will serve you well in your AP exam. So go download that one, give it a shot.