White Primaries


On April 3, 1944, the US Supreme Court ruled the Texas White Primary as unconstitutional. The decision came in favor of the African Americans, previously barred from voting by the Texas state legislature. The case known as Smith vs. Allwright was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court with regard to voting rights and racial desegregation.

Texas Democratic Party had prohibited non-whites, mainly African Americans from voting in its primary elections through the state legislature back in 1923. This law, in particular, triggered a legal and political battle for more than two decades. Although the Supreme Court found the 1923 law as a violation of the fourteenth amendment, the legal question was whether a political party could establish its own internal rules like a private entity. Back in the day, the court was of the view that primaries are an integral component of the electoral system; therefore, the Democratic Party had no right to bar voters on racial grounds.

Smith vs. Allwright was crucial in the African American civil rights struggle. Majority of the African Americans still face routine discrimination in the Southern States in terms of segregated schools, employment contracts, and etcetera.