It has Undemocratic Origins

The main objectives of the framers of the 1901 Constitution were to remove the voting rights of African-Americans and poor whites in Alabama while centralizing power in the hands of a few special interests in Montgomery.

These goals were achieved with astounding success. By 1903, the number of African-American citizens registered to vote had dropped from 181,000 to less than 4,000, and over 40,000 white citizens had lost their right to vote as well.

Although the infamous voting restrictions of 1901 were overturned by federal courts, evidence of this embarrassing legacy still remains in our Constitution today, and the centralization of power remains as strong as ever.

It restricts local democracy
It locks in an unfair tax system
It hinders economic development
It limits budget flexibility
It is the longest known constitution in the world

When the lights dimmed
"When the lights dimmed" is from the "Century of Shame" series in the Mobile Register.
When the Lights Dimmed
Mobile Register, Oct. 15, 2000

Jackson W. Giles knew Alabama had changed, but the fury of the new order shocked him. Musty court records at the state's archives tell how he lost his right to vote in Alabama in only a day, and why he never got it back. Mr. Giles had voted for 20 years and had been active in Montgomery's 4th Ward. But like other men, he had to register under the rigid voting laws of Alabama 's new constitution of 1901.
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Official Proceedings
Alabama Legislature

Read the official proceedings of the 1901 Convention, broken into 52 day-by-day transcripts.
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