Constitution of 1901

In the decades after Reconstruction, southern states adopted new constitutions that disfranchised blacks and many poor whites. In 1901, Alabama elected 155 delegates, all white, to a convention. While preserving the core features of the 1875 constitution, including low taxes, small government, and centralized control, Alabama’s new constitution codified stringent new requirements for voting, including literacy, property ownership, and a poll tax. This legal suppression of rights was overturned through federal legislation, judicial action, and public activism in the mid-twentieth century. Tax reform and home rule remain the objectives of constitutional reform efforts in the early twenty-first century.

Composite image of the delegates to the 1901 constitutional convention

Birmingham Public Library Archives