Original Author: Democratic Party of Accomack County
Accomack County: All on Fire For Hancock and English and Garrison!
A political broadside produced by the Democratic Party in Accomack County urges voters to pay their 1879 poll tax so they will be eligible to vote for the Democratic slate of candidates in the 1880 national election: Winfield Scott Hancock for president, William H. English for vice president, and George T. Garrison for U.S. Congress. In 1876, the state’s Conservative Party (which soon became the Democratic Party) succeeded in amending the state constitution, for the first time denying the right to vote to men who had not paid the state poll tax, as well as men convicted of petty larceny. The amendments were understood to be aimed at making it more difficult for African American males to vote, since many poor black families could not pay the tax. Additionally, white supremacists assumed that African American men were inherently less honest than white men and more likely to commit petty crimes; thus, that amendment was designed to reduce the number of Black voters.
This poster preys on white fears that Blacks will flock to the polls anyway, by making the charge that the "Republican National Committee [will be] Paying Their Poll Tax!" In the ensuing election, the Democratic candidates for president and vice president were defeated, but Garrison was elected to Congress.