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Notes from Hunter Creek

“The Twenty-Fourth Amendment” 

Column 124 

First proposed in 1962 and ratified during the Civil Rights era of 1964, the Twenty-Fourth Amendment prohibited Congress and the States from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections upon the payment of a poll tax or any other type of tax. 

This right was later extended to state and local elections though the “equal protection clause” of the 14th Amendment. Also outlawed in mainly Southern states was the practice of disallowing the right to vote if any county or state tax was owed by any potential voter. 

Prior to this Amendment, the US Supreme Court had surprisingly ruled in 1937 (Breedlove  v.  Suthless) that the restriction on voting conditional upon poll and other taxes being paid prior to voting, was entirely constitutional.        

 Though ratified in 1964 none of the former 11 Confederates States of America, other than Florida and Tennessee, ever voted to ratify the 24th Amendment.    

The poll tax was not only intended to restrict voting by Afro-Americans in the South, but was also designed to restrict the voting power of mainly poor rural whites.   

In welcoming the passage of the 24th Amendment, President Lyndon Johnson announced it to be a “triumph of liberty over reconstruction and a verification of the people’s right to vote.”

Note: (July 29) 

I don’t know about you, but twenty 90+ degree days in a row is a bit much, in my opinion. 

In younger days, I could always handle cold weather but had some problems with summer heat. Now days, I can’t seem to handle the extreme cold or heat. 

A couple of elderly former friends and supporters of mine passed on this week. Dee Potter, age 73, widow of Leonard Potter (2009), retired from the education field. She and Leonard loved their old-time and bluegrass music. They are both missed.

Narvel Tetrick, age 76, a retired railroad worker and proud owner of several good running dogs over the years, was born and raised on Bryant Creek in Ozark County. Narvel was one of 12 children. Of course, all of his pals and neighbors growing up on the middle section of Bryant Creek came from large families, including the Pools, the Berrys, and the Pendergrasses.  

I married into the largest clan, the Pendergrasses; 21 children. They have treated me like one of their own for 36 years, for which I am very grateful. 

Needless to say, none of these families were wealthy. In fact almost all of the children were raised in poverty, but no one ever knew it while growing up. 

When traveling though Ozark County, or if floating down Bryant Creek, all of these family’s old farms, for the most part, still look well kept and handsome. The farmlands generally are cleared of a majority of timber and are divided into smaller fields, surrounded by low walls of picked rocks and often sub- divided by split rail fences.

A meal of beans and cornbread with squirrel or rabbit followed by an apple or peach was always appreciated. While growing up in hard times most of the children of their pioneer parents and grandparents received one pair of shoes or boots that had to last for the year.  The children were of course directed to take good care of them.

My mother-in-law, Una Uhlmann, whom passed away about 5 years ago, used to like to tell me the story of how she lived almost 2 miles from her country school.  In good weather, she would carry her shoes and walk barefoot putting on her shoes at the school door. Apparently, this was a common practice among almost all of the young school girls.

In making her journey, there were 2 small creeks to be forded. No matter what the weather, Una would always remove her shoes to keep from getting them soaked. 

I also knew young Owen Dobbs, age 25, whom was killed in a tragic traffic accident north of Ava on Hwy. 5. I send my dearest sympathies to all of these  saddened families.         

Now, get up and go enjoy our beautiful Ozarks outdoors!