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25, 1908, at 1 (quoting Congressman Hardwick explaining approvingly how proposed constitutional provisions in Georgia would have the effect of disfranchising all African Americans).
See, e.g., Double Tracking Southern, CHARLOTTE DAILY OBSERVER (Charlotte, N.C.), May 30, 1903, at 1 (noting that the Supreme Court's decision in Giles "has not ended the fight to test the validity of those disfranchising laws directed at the ignorant blacks in the South."); Giles Has Another Chance, WORLD-HERALD (Omaha, Neb.), May 30, 1903, at 3; Negro Suffrage Case, COLORED AM.
Long after Mills, Southern disfranchising conventions worried expressely about whether their work would survive challenge under the Reconstruction Amendments; suffrage provisions were self-consciously crafted to minimize the risk, perceived as real, that the federal courts would invalidate them.
In The Canon, I sought to document how recent and fragile the white electoral majorities were that approved disfranchisement in a border state like North Carolina, and how even in the deepest South, the disfranchising constitution of Alabama was adopted by a thin, nominal majority itself made possible only by overwhelming fraud.
But while the convention was debating ratification, the popular vote in Alabama took place; as described in The Canon, the Alabama disfranchising constitution was rejected in the white counties and adopted only because it won overwhelming--and obviously fraudulently--majorities in the black counties.
I will not belabor the point by going through the record in other disfranchising states.
Much of Alabama's history consisted of struggles for political domination between northern Alabama and the Black-Belt counties in south central Alabama.(76) The disfranchising constitution was approved with only 57% of the vote (a margin of 26,879 votes), and the total vote was against it in 54 of the state's 66 counties.(77) As in most southern states, the constitution was a product, not of a united white majority, but of a faction of conservative Democratic Party elites; they were resisted tooth and nail by Republicans, remaining Populists, and Democrats who favored more popular control over politics.
(12.) In the odd context of an appeal from a murder conviction, the disfranchising provisions of the 1890 Mississippi Constitution had been brought to the Court in Williams v.
(73.) This is from the Alabama Constitutional Convention, but similar statements were widespread across Southern disfranchising states.
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