Perhaps that`s because the grandfather clause wasn`t just about race — and because it was banned a century ago — most people use the term “grandfather in” and never realize that it once had racist overtones. The original grandfather clauses were contained in new state constitutions and Jim Crow laws passed between 1890 and 1908 by white-dominated state legislators such as Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Virginia.  They restricted voter registration and effectively prevented African Americans from voting.  Racial restrictions on the right to vote that applied before 1870 were repealed by the Fifteenth Amendment. “That term `grandfather` was kind of uprooted,” Overton says. “It`s really a very convenient and shortened time. We probably wouldn`t feel so comfortable using it if we combined it with grandfathering clauses in the past and entry taxes and things like that. For this reason, almost all States have set a time limit on their grandfathering clauses. They hoped to register whites before these laws could be challenged in court. In 1898, Louisiana introduced the first grandfather clause, which stated that “no male person who had the right to vote on January 1, 1867 or at any time before it.
and no son or grandson of such a person. he is denied the right to register and vote in that State because he does not have the educational or material qualifications. Variants of this approach included the Fighting Grandfather Clause, which exempted descendants of veterans, or the Mississippi “Comprehension Clause,” which excluded those who could verbally interpret the state constitution to the satisfaction of white officials from registration. There is also a slightly different and older type of grandfathering clause, perhaps more accurately a grandfathering principle, in which a government erases transactions from the recent past, usually those of a previous government. The modern analogue may be the rejection of the national debt, but the original was the principle of Henry II, which was preserved in many of his judgments: “Let it be as it was on the day of my grandfather`s death,” a principle by which he rejected all royal subsidies granted during the previous 19 years under King Stephen.  Grandfather Clauses, originally intended to prevent blacks from voting, were named after provisions adopted in the constitutions of some states. These amendments were intended to interfere with a person`s right to vote by imposing difficult requirements. For example, common requirements were possession of a large amount of land or the ability to read and write parts of state and federal constitutions. The grandfather name clause stems from the exceptions made for Civil War veterans. While veterans were eligible to vote before 1866, their descendants were also eligible. So if a person`s grandfather could vote, he could vote without further restrictions. However, the intent of the grandfather clause was not exclusively to appease some whites while blacks were discriminated against, says Spencer Overton, author of Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression.
It was also a question of power. White Democrats drafted laws and passed new constitutions that created restrictive rules for voter registration. The collection of voting taxes as well as residency and literacy tests are examples of this. An exception to these requirements was made for all persons who were allowed to vote before the Civil War and for each of their descendants. The term grandfather clause derives from the fact that the laws linked the voting rights of the current generation to those of their grandfathers. According to Black`s Law Dictionary, some southern states adopted constitutional provisions that exempted descendants of those who had fought in the U.S. army or navy or Confederate states from literacy requirements. “The grandfather clause isn`t really a way to deprive anyone of their rights,” says Michael Klarman, a Harvard law professor.
“It was a way to empower whites who would have been excluded by things like literacy clauses. It was politically necessary, because otherwise you would have too much resistance from the poor whites who would have been disenfranchised. The grandfather clause was part of the legal means drafted by Southern lawmakers to restrict the right of African Americans to vote after Reconstruction. .