The Courts: Challenge to 4(e)

With an eye to tens of thousands of Spanish-speaking Puerto Ricans in New York City who were disenfranchised by a 44-year-old state law requiring that voters demonstrate literacy in English, New York Senator Robert Kennedy last spring pinned a shirttail amendment on the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Labeled Section 4(e), it provided that no U.S. citizen could be denied the vote through a literacy test if he could prove he had a sixth-grade education in any "American flag school"—including the Spanish-language schools in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, where residents have long elected their own Governor and legislature.

As a...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!