White Primary

AP US Government and Politics


  1. What do you think white primary means?

  2. Use white primary in a sentence.

  3. Think of an example of white primary in current events:

  4. Find an image of white primary:

Sad Fact


White primary: A Democratic party primary in the old "one-party South" that was limited to white people and essentially constituted an election, ruled unconstitutional in Smith v. Allwright (1944). Here's the PBS website on Jim Crow and white primaries.


After Reconstruction, since the vast majority of southern voters were Democrats Republicans could never beat democrats in a general election. Blacks were allowed to vote in general elections, which didn't actually decide anything, but not in the primary, the only vote that actually mattered.


Voting Rights Roundup: New study confirms just how racially discriminatory voter ID laws truly are


AP US Government and Politics


  1. How did White Primaries guarantee White electoral victories?

  2. Why were Republican candidates unable to win in the "solid-South" during the Jim Crow era?

  3. Today, white primaries are illegal, are there any other methods that current politicians legally use to disenfranchise minority voters?