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In August 1890, a new constitutional convention met in Jackson. Delegates—only one of whom was Black— sought to exclude Black Mississippians from politics without appearing to violate federal law. The convention adopted restrictive voter qualifications—including poll taxes, literacy tests, and an interpretation clause—that disenfranchised Black and poor White voters for decades to come.

Pictured: Black and red ink on yellow paper. The top of the page reads, “Article 12,” written in script and underlined in red ink. The next line below reads, “Franchise” in script and underlined in red ink. The third line reads, “Sec. 240 – All elections by the people shall be by [ballot],” and is also underlined in red ink. The rest of the document defines voting procedures that discriminated against Black voters in Mississippi. 

Credit: Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Mississippi Rewrites Its Constitution
Article 12 of the 1890 Mississippi Constitution
Date Year