Election 1944: Colored vote in Texas primary (7-29-44)

The Afro-American (July 29, 1944)


Colored vote in Texas primary

Houston, Texas –
Colored citizens all over the state voted, Saturday, in the Texas Democratic primary, the first since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in April that these primaries should be open to colored Texans.

No violence was reported as election officials obeyed orders of state and county officials to permit colored persons to vote if they had qualified by poll tax payments.

One precinct refuses

Dr. Lonnie Smith, a local dentist on whose case the 1944 Supreme Court decision was based, cast the first ballot in his precinct.

Only one precinct here was known to have refused to permit colored persons to vote, and affidavits are being taken preparatory to fighting this case.

Formed precinct convention

Colored voters here not only went to the polls Saturday but also organized a precinct convention, and at another were elected delegates to the Democratic county convention on July 29.

In Precinct 25, which is predominantly colored, 50-60 colored and three white persons attended the convention called by E. H. Harrison, union officials and 3rd Ward Civic Club vice president, who was elected temporary chairman.

Miss Lottie Wallis, white precinct election judge, was elected county convention delegate.

Mr. Harrison said that Miss Wallis was named because it was a precinct custom that the election judge be elected the first delegate and that the district was entitled to only one representative.

Heaviest vote in history

Miss Wallis said that in Precinct 25, which has 25-50 qualified white and about 1,000 colored voters, 400 votes were tallied as compared with 16 cast by white voters in the 1942 primary. This was its heaviest vote in history.

At the Precinct 48 convention, ten colored and ten white persons were elected delegates to the county convention.

2,627 vote in one county

M. L. O. Andrews, chairman of the Harris County Democratic Committee, said on Monday that colored persons cast 2,627 of the approximately 55,000 votes tallied in that county.

Mr. Harrison estimated that 9,000 colored persons in the county paid poll taxes this year.