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Constitutional Amendment Proposed to Outlaw Poll Tax

Mar. 12, 1962 - Mike Mansfield (pictured center), the Senate majority leader, said today that he would call up for debate this week a constitutional amendment to abolish poll taxes. The move was a surprise. In a Congressional session already crowded with other highly charged issues, civil rights had drawn relatively little attention. The poll tax amendment is probably the mildest of all pending civil rights proposals and the least objectionable to Southerners. It is sponsored by an orthodox Southern Democrat, Senator Spessard L. Holland of Florida. The Kennedy Administration’s main civil rights objective for this session is a statue to restrict the literacy tests used to prevent Negro registration and voting. Senator Mansfield has promised to get the literacy bill to the floor before May 1.

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