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Today in Black History: Tuskegee Boycott

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On June 17, 1977, Blacks began to boycott city stores as a way to protest against the law that prohibited them of municipal votes by strategically placing their homes outside of city limits. Tuskegee, Alabama, had a Black majority, however, Whites mostly owned the businesses and held the municipal offices. Blacks began a voter registration drive with the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), which obtained some success. Yet, the Alabama legislature redrew the Tuskegee town boundaries that excluded the Institute.

In response, the boycott began. Blacks made 80-mile round trips to Montgomery to buy food, clothes, and other necessities. It effectively created devastating economic consequences for Whites, who preferred to go out of business than give Blacks the right to vote. The boycott ended in 1961 after four years. The Supreme Court ruled in Gomillion vs. Lightfoot that gerrymandering districts to restrict Blacks from voting is unconstitutional and the old town boundaries were restored. A long way to the White House.—Shavon S. Greene

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