Before 1965, you had to pass a literacy test to vote in Alabama. (The primary purpose was to keep minorities from voting.) There seem to be multiple variations of the test here, here and here. Supposedly you had 8 minutes and were allowed only 2 wrong answers. Frank and I took the 30 question version in Uncle John's Triumphant 20th Anniversary Bathroom Reader and we only got half of them! Guess we wouldn't have been voting.
It wasn't a literacy test – it was a "do you know the constitution and US government" test.
If you haven’t seen the Library of Congress photos on Flickr yet, you need to check them out now! They are very cool – I’ve spent quite a bit of time exploring them. You can also check out the Library of Congress blog.
You plant grass, you water, you take good care of your lawn and then you have to cut it every week, but you continue to water it. Ever wondered why? (I do – I think I spent too much time in a city without lawns to truly appreciate lawns. I never look at a lawn and say, wow, that’s some good landscaping. Instead I think, wow, that’s a lot of water in a place like Colorado where we’ve had droughts the past five years.)
Lawns came to the US from Britain in the late 1800’s. It was a sign of wealth to have a large expanse of green grass all nicely trimmed (in the days before lawn mowers!) The really rich used servants; our more practical presidents like Woodrow Wilson used sheep. But we have the American Garden Club to blame for our current standards of lawn care:
It wasn’t until The American Garden Club stepped in. Through contests and other forms of publicity, they convinced home owners that it was their civic duty to maintain a beautiful and healthy lawn. So effective was the club’s campaign that lawns were soon the accepted form of landscaping. The garden club further stipulated that the appropriate type of lawn was "a plot with a single type of grass with no intruding weeds, kept mown at a height of an inch and a half, uniformly green, and neatly edged."
So next time you are griping about your water bill or the time you spend mowing, just remember, your lawn shows how rich you are!