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Robert S. Anderson’s poll tax receipt, Memphis, Tennessee, April 25, 1940.

Poll taxes were laws that required payment of a fee in order to vote, and were implemented in southern states like Tennessee in order to restrict the political power of African American communities. By the 1880s, Tennessee began enforcing poll taxes, which remained active until the 1960s. In many places, poll taxes were combined with other voting restrictions such as literacy tests.