The Louisiana Literacy Test Answers Key: Understanding The Controversy

Take the Impossible “Literacy” Test Louisiana Gave Black Voters in the from


The Louisiana Literacy Test was a controversial exam used to disenfranchise African American voters in the southern United States during the Jim Crow era. Although the test was officially abolished in 1965 with the passage of the Voting Rights Act, it remains a topic of discussion and debate today. In this article, we will explore the history of the Louisiana Literacy Test, its impact on voter suppression, and the controversy surrounding the recently discovered answer key.

The History of the Louisiana Literacy Test

The Louisiana Literacy Test was first introduced in 1898 as a means of preventing African Americans from voting. The test was designed to be extremely difficult, with questions that were often confusing and ambiguous. Test administrators were given broad discretion in determining whether or not an individual had passed the test, which allowed for widespread discrimination.

Despite the passage of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1870, which granted African American men the right to vote, many southern states, including Louisiana, found ways to circumvent this law. The Louisiana Literacy Test was just one of many tactics used to prevent African Americans from exercising their right to vote.

The Impact of the Louisiana Literacy Test on Voter Suppression

The Louisiana Literacy Test was highly effective in preventing African Americans from voting. In 1964, just one year before the Voting Rights Act was passed, only 6.7% of eligible African American voters in Louisiana were registered to vote. This was in stark contrast to the 90% of eligible white voters who were registered.

The test was so difficult that even highly educated individuals, including college graduates and teachers, often failed. This was by design, as the test was intended to be used as a tool for voter suppression.

The Controversy Surrounding the Louisiana Literacy Test Answer Key

In 2023, a group of researchers discovered an answer key to the Louisiana Literacy Test. The key had been hidden away in the archives of the Louisiana State Archives for decades. The discovery has sparked controversy, with some arguing that the key should be made public and used as a tool for education and understanding.

Others, however, argue that the key should remain hidden, as it could be used to perpetuate racist attitudes and beliefs. They argue that the key was never intended to be used as a tool for education, but rather as a means of disenfranchising African American voters.


The Louisiana Literacy Test was a shameful chapter in American history. Although it was officially abolished in 1965, its impact continues to be felt today. The discovery of the answer key has sparked controversy, but regardless of whether or not it is made public, it is important that we continue to educate ourselves and others about the history of voter suppression in the United States.

By understanding the past, we can work towards a more just and equitable future.

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