Over $120 Million Insurance In Force JwArkethieda INSURANCE COMPANY P. 0. Box 8098 Houston, Texas Cultivation of a Habit THE POLL TAX IN THE SOUTH, Frederick D. Ogden, University of Alabama Press, 1958, $6, 301 pp. AUSTIN Surely no one would read this book for pleasure; it. is an example of that vaguely soured style of scholarship which is more irritated with misinformation than pleased with truth. Still, as the legislators consider Rep. Maud Isaacks’s proposal to abolish the poll tax in Texas, they and the citizens may wish to consider the truth of the matter, which is not, judging by this careful inquiry, quite what it is generally thought to be, although it has been exaggerated rather than misrepresented. Ogden’s main conclusion is that the poll tax works toward the reduction of voting among people in the cities, Negroes, LatinAmericans, and poor people. He is convinced, however, that the low proportion of Southerners who vote is a result of many factors, including, for example, the absence of party competition in the South. In 1950 Democratic gubernatorial primaries, 25.2 per cent of the citizens over 21 voted in the five poll tax states in the South, while only 29.4 percentan increment of four percentvoted in the non-poll tax Southern states. Adopted from 1890 to 1908, the poll taxes were designed mainly to disfranchise Negroes, b u t as Ogden points out they also discouraged voting, and by many supporters were meant to discourage voting, among the poor whites. Ogden mainly agrees with Ralph Bunche’s proposition that the southern ruling class of the period “were fearful of the threat of union between the poor whites who were beginning to become articulate in Populismand the Negroes, and that this possibility of a united people’s movement in the South impressed them as a revolutionary upsurge that must be crushed at all odds. The poll tax legislation lent itself admirably to this purpose.” In support Ogden cites the chap in Virginia who hoped to bar from the polls whites “who have nothing at stake in government” and the president of the Alabama constitutional convention w h o wanted government power safely in the hands of “the intelligent and virtuous.” Today Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Virginia, and Mississippi still have the poll tax. North and South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee have abandoned it, largely because practical politicians decided they would get more votes without it. With the NAACP meeting in Houston to map statewide poll tax drives, the East Texans’ investment in the institution depreciates considerably. Ogden’s book suggests that agitation against the poll tax devalues the tax among its supporters by causing to vote the people it is designed to discourage. Texas voters adopted the . poll tax, 200,650 to 107,748, in 1902, and declined to abolish it 172,284 to 133,550 in a 1949 election in which the people defeated eight of ten amendments submitted. Whereas other states have enacted various devices for voter disqualification, the poll tax has not been so augmented in Texas. The recent innovation of deputizing poll tax salesmen who work, then, among voters, in areas which roughly favor the deputies’ own political views has further reduced the significance of the tax in terms of its original purposes \(although the solicitations do take up energy which might be otherwise Poll Tax Corruption Ogden says the poll tax has lent itself to unique forms of political corruption but is not itself the cause of such corruption. The main abuse has been politicians buying other peoples’ poll taxes and “voting” them, a common phenomenon we have most recently noticed in Webb County. The Texas contribution to Ogden’s tome is most impressive in his chapter on corruption, of course; perhaps it will amuse our readers to know which of our Texas customs fed the professor’s fancy. A San Antonio political observer is quoted \(the year not poll tax receipts and “pass them out to their ‘owners’ on election daywith instructions of course, and an extra dollar or so for sweetnin’.” Qgden then continues: “Poll taxes of Mexicans and. Negroes in Texas have frequently been paid for them as a means of controlling their votes. In some areas, the practice has been to gather together a truckload of Mexicans and to take them to the county courthouse. Each one is given $1.75 with which to pay the tax. After receiving the receipt, the Mexican is told that it belongs to the politician who gave him the money. If the Mexican is consIdered reliable, he may be allowed to retain the receipt. If not, it is collected and held until election day. For his trouble in going to pay the tax, the Mexican may receive a bottle of beer. Since Mexicans are migratory, they are frequently given blank receipts so that someone else may use them at election time. In some places, particularly in Laredo, blocks of blank receipts may be bought. Donald S. Strong found that the purchasing of receipts by politicians was most prevalent in South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley, the area where the percentage of Mexicans in the population is the greatest.” Strong’s work was published in 1944. Ogden also harks back to the late San Antonio Negro , political w boss, Charlie Bellinger, who “was reported to ‘own’ 3,000 poll tax receipts. At poll tax payment time, he would have $3,000 or $4,000 which probably came from white candidates who were interested in securing his aid.” How much of this goes on now, ‘Ogden does not say, being a scholar, not a detective. LEGALS THE STATE OF TEXAS To any Sheriff or any Constable within the State of Texas GREETING: You are hereby commanded to cause to be published, ONCE, not less than ten days before the return day thereof, exclusive of the date of publication, in a newspaper printed in Travis County,. Texas, the accompanying citation, of which the herein below following is a true copy\(but if there be no newspaper so printed in said county, then that you cause the said citation to be posted for at least TEN days before the return term thereof as required by CITATION BY PUBLICATION THE STATE OF TEXAS TO all persons interested in the estate of Laverne Waterston, a minor, No. 14096, County Court, Travis County, Texas. The Austin National Bank, Austin, Texas, Guardian in the above numbered and entitled estate, filed on the 30th day of March, 1959, its verified account for final settlement of said estate and requests that said estate be settled and closed, and said applicant be discharged from its trust. Said application will be heard and acted on by said Court at 10 o’clock A.M. on the first Monday next after the expiration of ten days from date of publication of this citation, the same being the County Courthouse in Austin, Texas. All persons interested in said estate are hereby cited to appear before said Honorable Court at said above mentioned time and place by filing a written answer contesting such application should they desire to do so. Ogden carefully examines the impact of poll tax passage and repeal on voting totals in several states. On the short term his point is that the poll tax reduces voting only somewhat and that many of the people who do not pay their poll tax would not vote whether there was a poll tax requirement or not. “The long-run effects may be of more consequence,” he writes. “Habits are not changed easily, especially those of long standing. Many southerners have acquired a habit of non-voting.” Still, the tax is not “the bogey man =its opponents would have us believe,” or its adoption would have caused more disfranchisement than took place, and its repeal a greater upturn in voting, he argues. “But, in Southern states where turnout is low, almost any increase is significant. An increase of five to ten percentage points could bring important changes in the political life of the region.” Those Discouraged On the question of who is most affected by the poll tax, Ogden is less equivocal. Where Negroes are concentrated, poll tax payments are relatively low. “The Texas high payment \(of predominantly rural and sparsely populated and had a small nonwhite population, whereas the low-payment countries were more urbanized and more heavily populated and had more non-whites.” Counties with large Latin-American groups were also “low-payment” counties. Counties with more cars for the population had higher poll tax payments. In 1950, Texas counties containing a city of more than 20,000 people had a median percentage of adults 21-60 paying their poll tax of 36.3 percent, compared to a median for all the counties in Texas ‘of 51.4 percent. “Groups like Negroes and Texas Mexican-Americans, standing on the fringes of society, in it but not of it, have little incentive to meet a tax requirement for voting, since the society gives them no encouragement to participate in its political processes,” Ogden concludes. “The urban voter, the Negro voter, and the economically depressed voter may be affected more adversely by a poll tax requirement than other groups in the society.” R. D. The officer executing this writ shall promptly serve the same according to requirements of law, and the mandates hereof, and make due return as the law directs. Given under my hand and the seal of said Court at office in Austin, Texas, this the 31st day of March, A.D. 1959. EMILIE LIMBERG Clerk of the County Court, Travis County, Texas By M. EPHRAIM, Deputy CITATION BY PUBLICATION THE STATE OF TEXAS TO John N. Leggitt, Defendant, in the hereinafter styled and numbered cause: You are hereby commanded to appear before the 98th District Court of Travis County, Texas, to be held at the courthouse of said county in the City of Austin, Travis County, Texas, at or before 10 o’clock A.M. of the first Monday after the expiration of 42 days from the date of issuance hereof; that is to say, at or before, 10 o’clock A.M. of Monday the 11th day of May, 1959, and answer the First Amended petition of plaintiff in Cause Number 102,323, in which Frances M. Leggitt is Plaintiff and John N. Leggitt is defendant, filed in said Court on the 24th day of March, 1959, and the nature of which said suit is as follows: Being an action and prayer for judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant for decree of divorce dissolving the bonds of matrimony heretofore and now existing between said parties; Plaintiff alleges cruel treatment THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 7 April 4, 1959 on the part of defendant towards her of such a nature as to render their further living together as husband and wife altogether insupportable; Plaintiff further alleges that no children born of said union and no community property was accumulated; Plaintiff further prays for relief, general and special; All of which more fully appears from Plaintiff’s First Amended Original Petition on file in this office and to which reference is here made; If this citation is not served within 90 days after date of its issuance, it shall be returned unserved. Witness, 0. T. MARTIN, JR., Clerk of the District Courts of Travis County, Texas. Issued and given under my hand and the seal of said Court at office in the City of Austin, this the 24th day of March, 1959. 0. T. MARTIN, JR. Clerk of the District Courts, Travis County, Texas. By GEO. W. BICKLER, Deputy NOTICE OF INTENTION TO INCORPORATE WITHOUT CHANGE OF NAME TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Notice is hereby given that Bernard A. Delano, W. B. Garner and J. P. Gossett, partners, composing the firm of Delano and Garner Manufacturing Company and doing business under such name, will incorporate and will continue to do business as a corporation under the same name, Delano and Garner Manufacturing Company, Inc., and in compliance with Article 1307, Vernon’s Civil Statutes of the State of Texas, will post this notice one day each week for newspaper in Austin, Texas, and in a newspaper in Harris County, Texas. DELANO AND GARNER MANUFACTURING CO. By: B. A. DELANO NOTICE TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Notice is hereby given that the partnership firm of Aero-Charter of Houston will be dissolved, and notice is also hereby given of the intention of said firm to become incorporated under the name of Aero-Charter of Houston, Inc. Witness my hand this 16 day of March, 1959. AERO-CHARTER OF HOUSTON By JAMES R. FISK, One of the Partners CITATION BY PUBLICATION THE STATE OF TEXAS TO Robert Leroy Charles, Defendant, in the hereinafter styled and numbered cause: You are hereby commanded to appear before the 126th District Court of Travis County, Texas, to be held at the courthouse of said county in the City of Austin, Travis County, Texas, at or before 10 o’clock A.M. of the first Monday after the expiration of 42 days from the date of issuance hereof; that is to say, at or before, 10 o’clock A.M. of Monday the 27th clay of April, 1959, and answer the petition of plaintiff in Cause Number 113,196, in which Elta Wray Charles is Plaintiff and Robert Leroy Charles is defendant, filed in said Court on the 20th day of February, 1959, and the nature of which said suit is as follows: Being an action and prayer for judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant for a decree of divorce dissolving the bonds of matrimony heretofore and now existing between said parties; Plaintiff alleges cruel treatment on the part of defendant towards her of such nature as to render their further living together as husband and wife altogether in
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.