The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 348
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
188o, that this illiteracy prevails not among the negroes alone,
but among the whites as well." If that were true in 189o, Louisi-
ana experienced in the following decade one of the greatest
revolutions in educational history when she lowered her white
illiteracy to 17.3 per cent, as Woodward records later in the book.
Census data give the following statistics on Louisiana illiteracy:
1880, 49.1 per cent; 1890, 45.8 per cent; and 1900, 38.5 per cent;
for whites above ten years of age: 1880, 19.8 per cent; 1890, 20.3
per cent; and 1900, 17.3 per cent; for negroes above ten years
of age: 1880, 79.1 per cent; 1890, 72.1 per cent; and 1900, 61.1
per cent. The author continues:
The year after the Tennessee Redeemers had all but destroyed the
public-school system of their state  it was realized "that while
the white population had increased only 13 percent during the
preceding ten years, white illiteracy had increased 50o percent." Yet
little effective public action was taken to check the retrogression
before the end of the century.
Perhaps the first statement is correct, since it covers the decade
of the 186o's, including four years of war and military occupation
and three years of Radical control. In the middle 18o7's, as the
author himself admits, Tennessee adopted "a state system of
public schools." At least the census figures for native-white
illiteracy in the state declined significantly from 27.8 per cent in
188o to 14.2 per cent in 1900.
It is perhaps unnecessary to challenge the use of a newspaper
statement that the poll tax discouraged 6o,ooo or more white men
from voting in Mississippi in 1896 (the author obviously means
1895), when only 64,339 actually voted. It is odd that the poll
tax disfranchised so many in that election, the result of which
was never in doubt, and relatively so few eight years later when in
the Democratic primary alone 1oo,ooo voted, or twelve years later
when 12o,ooo voted.
Although Woodward gives much attention to the industrial
economy, it is disappointing that his treatment of the booming
lumber industry of the New South is fragmentary. There are
those who would also like to know the extent to which the
lumber barons influenced the politics of the period.
Criticism of some of Woodward's authorities and disagreement
with an occasional generalization are not intended to imply that
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/394/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.