|After the Civil War ended, many blacks tried to
vote. They were often met with violence, and many of those who felt
threatened by blacks set up restrictions to keep the former slaves
from voting. Since most blacks could not read or write, literacy
tests were established. High poll taxes were also imposed. When
whites could not read, write, or afford to pay the taxes, they were
still allowed to vote.
Even during the Civil Rights Movement, many blacks were not
registered to vote. Knowing that voting would help to bring about
changes, Dr. King and his followers launched project Freedom Summer
in the state of Mississippi during the summer of 1964. Hoping to
increase voter turnout, volunteers worked to get African Americans
registered to vote. At Freedom Schools, African Americans were
taught how to read. Unfortunately, these projects were not without
danger. Three college students (James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and
Michael Schwener), who had been volunteers, were murdered and found
buried that June.
In 1964, poll taxes were abolished by the 24th Amendment to the
Another advancement came when the Voting Rights Act of 1965
became law on August 6, 1965. Its provisions outlawed the literacy
tests and made it easier for African Americans to vote.