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History of Racist Intent

Expert witness historian Dr. Vernon Burton submitted evidence that in the 1860s and before, North Carolina disenfranchised only persons convicted of “infamous” crimes, not all felonies. However, immediately after the Civil War, former rebels engaged in a widespread campaign of convicting African Americans of “infamous” crimes and whipping them as the punishment, with the express goal of preventing African Americans from being able to vote.

In the fall of 1866, reports began to come in from military headquarters in Charleston and Raleigh that ‘in all country towns the whipping of negroes is being carried on extensively,’ with ‘the real motive’ being ‘to guard against their voting in the future, there being a law in North Carolina depriving those publicly whipped of the right to vote.’

Image Source: Library of Congress