Monday, March 21, 2016

Recalling an Era When the Color of Your Skin Meant You Paid to Vote  


On March 24, 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Harper v. Virginia Board of Electors, that poll taxes for any level of election were unconstitutional. (NMAAHC)

In January 1955 in Hardin County, Texas, Leo Carr had to pay $1.50 to vote. That receipt for Carr's "poll tax" now resides in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In today’s dollars, Carr paid roughly $13.
“It’s a day’s wages,” explains William Pretzer, the museum’s senior history curator. “You’re asking someone to pay a day’s wages in order to be able to vote.”
Pretzer says the museum accepted the donation of the receipt from Carr’s family in 2012 as a vivid and a significant example of the way that voting rights were denied to African Americans. Poll taxes, quite simply a tax to pay to vote, were enacted in the post-reconstruction era from the late 19th to the very early 20th century. But they remained in effect until the 1960s.

The ancient Romans weren’t shy about their love of eating and drinking, and their beverage of choice was wine. They loved their vino so much they wrote poems about it, sang about it, gave speeches about it, painted frescoes to celebrate it and drank it in great quantities. So it’s no surprise that the taberna was a key location in Roman life. A new discovery in southern France, thought to be a roughly 2,100-year-old Roman tavern, shows that it was also a way the Romans spread their culture and ideas after colonizing other nations.
Described in the journal Antiquity, the structure was unearthed in the ancient port of Lattara, an archeological site near the modern city of Montpellier. At first, reports Laura Geggel at LiveScience, researchers thought the building was a bakery because of the presence of three ovens and a millstone in one of the site's two large rooms.

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