On this day in Alabama history: Voters back a statewide constitutional convention

On this day in Alabama history: Voters back a statewide constitutional convention
State capitol in Montgomery c. 1890s. (Alabama Department of Archives and History, Wikimedia)

April 23, 1901

A statewide referendum calling for a constitutional convention passed, eventually leading to the adoption of the 1901 Constitution of Alabama still used today. Meant primarily to disenfranchise black voters to ensure Democratic control of the state, the new constitution limited voter registration by requiring voters to pass literacy tests, be employed for at least one year, and meet stringent property qualifications. Not wanting to disenfranchise poor whites, however, the constitution provided exceptions if they could prove that they understood the U.S. Constitution, served in a 19th-century American war, or were descended from a veteran. The 1901 constitution currently has more than 700 amendments and is easily the longest in the nation.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

The 155 delegates to the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1901 codified black disfranchisement and increased the political power of the state legislature at the expense of local government. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, Courtesy of the Alabama Department of Archives and History)

 

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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