THE 7.7 DEMOCRACY OF THE SOUTH

Needless to say, the South is no more democratic politically than it is economically or racially. As everyone knows, those who own a region or nation inevitably control its political life. The "public" affairs of the South, therefore, are for the most part administered by politicians who primarily serve the owners-- Southern and non-Southern, individual and corporate--of the South's natural and productive resources.

Various means are employed by this plutocracy to thwart Southern democracy. Chief among these is the poll tax, which is still levied as a prerequisite to voting by the seven states of Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Secondly, there is the institution of the white Democratic primary which, despite court rulings, has until now deprived Negro Southerners of an effective vote in the eight states of Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. And then there are the many devious mechanical restrictions on voting which tend to subvert democracy.

For instance, there are the various literacy qualifications for voting, which require that a person be able to read or write any part of the Constitution, or else "give a reasonable interpretation of same." Various states, however, exempt from this requirement Confederate veterans and their "lawful descendants," owners of forty acres of land or $500 worth of other property, or "persons of good character who understand the duties of citizenship." Although the law provides for an appeal to the courts for persons

-92-

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Southern Exposure
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iv
  • Contents xi
  • 1. the Problem of the South 1
  • The Squalid South 1
  • The New Order of Slavocracy 19
  • The Perversion of Populism 37
  • Freedom Road--Closed 48
  • Last Hired, First Fired 63
  • Book Larnin', in Black and White 68
  • White Man's Country 78
  • The 7.7 Democracy of the South 92
  • 2. All's Hell on the Southern Front 127
  • The Southern Revolt 127
  • The Visible Empire 162
  • Kingfish and Small Fry 187
  • 3. the Road Ahead 264
  • Whose Good Earth? 275
  • Tva Leads the Way 282
  • The South Joins the Unions 288
  • Brotherhood--Union Made 302
  • Fair Employment Forever! 315
  • The Race Racket 326
  • Total Equality, and How to Get It 341
  • To Make the South Safe for Democracy 356
  • Index 365
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