Truman State University
Mentor: Funso Afolayan Assistant Professor, History
Racism as Policy: The Denial of Suffrage to Non-Whites in South Africa and the United States.
In South Africa and the southern United States, suffrage was denied to non-Whites for many years. The history and the nature of this denial of suffrage in those countries developed along similar lines, though there were significant differences both in methods and procedures as well as in consequences. This research focuses on this discrimination and tries to explain how it occurred in the years immediately following 1948, when the Nationalist Party came to power in South Africa, and in the United States after 1896, when the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court ruling upheld Jim Crow legislation which allowed the denial of voting rights.
This research is based on the use of primary and secondary sources dealing with the modern history of South Africa and the United States. Copies of various legislation that enacted these restrictions were also examined to discover exactly how suffrage was limited. All these sources were collectively examined, first to show the systematic denial of voting rights to non-Whites in South Africa; and second to establish the similarities of the South African experience and the discriminatory procedures employed there with the United States. Though the methods and the outcomes were similar, South Africa's denial of suffrage to the non-White population was more severe and more centralized in the national government than this action was in the United States.