Black History: Special Delivery!!
Smith v. Allwright began in U.S. Federal court in 1940. The case was filed by Dr. Lonnie Smith (1901 – 1971) in Houston, Texas, an African American dentist and civil rights activist. Smith was also an officer in the Houston branch of the NAACP. The legal challenges centered around the practice of excluding blacks from voting in primary elections. At the time, the Democratic Party was the dominant political party in most Southern states. Many Southern white democrats favored segregation and other laws to subjugate black people and prevent them from voting. One such tool that they employed to prevent black people from voting was to declare the Democratic primary elections to be closed to blacks.