- Life after slavery for African Americans
- The origins of Jim Crow - introduction
- Origins of Jim Crow - the Black Codes and Reconstruction
- Origins of Jim Crow - the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments
- Origins of Jim Crow - Compromise of 1877 and Plessy v. Ferguson
- Plessy v. Ferguson
- The Compromise of 1877
- Jim Crow
- The New South
- The South after the Civil War
After Reconstruction, states in the South passed laws that barred African Americans from voting and segregated schools, restaurants, and public accommodations.
- Jim Crow laws were laws created by white southerners to enforce racial segregation across the South from the 1870s through the 1960s.
- Under the Jim Crow system, “whites only” and “colored” signs proliferated across the South at water fountains, restrooms, bus waiting areas, movie theaters, swimming pools, and public schools. African Americans who dared to challenge segregation faced arrest or violent reprisal.
- In 1896, the Supreme Court declared Jim Crow segregation legal in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision. The Court ruled that “separate but equal” accommodations African Americans were permitted under the Constitution.
Jim Crow: a symbol for racial segregation
Jim Crow segregation was a way of life that combined a system of anti-black laws and race-prejudiced cultural practices. The term "Jim Crow" is often used as a synonym for racial segregation, particularly in the American South. The Jim Crow South was the era during which local and state laws enforced the legal segregation of white and black citizens from the 1870s into the 1960s. In the Jim Crow South, it was illegal for black Americans to ride in the front of public buses, eat at a “whites only” restaurant, or attend a “white” public school.
There was also a subtler, social dimension to Jim Crow, which required that African Americans demonstrate subservience and inferiority to whites at all times. A black man who succeeded in business might find his shop burned to the ground by jealous whites. A black woman who failed to step off of the sidewalk to make way for a white man might be fired by her employer the following day. A black man who had a relationship with a white woman might be hanged in the middle of town. Most Southern whites interpreted any claim to pride or equality by African Americans as an affront.
The term Jim Crow originated from the name of a black character from early- and mid- nineteenth century American theater. Crows are black birds, and Crow was the last name of a stock fictional black character, who was almost always played onstage by a white man in wearing blackface makeup. Due to the prevalence of this character, "Jim Crow" became a derogatory term for people of African descent.
From the late 1800s, the name Jim Crow came to signify the social and legal segregation of black Americans from white. After the Civil War and Reconstruction, whites disenfranchised black men (by means of the poll tax, literacy test, and more), frequently relegated black workers to low-paying jobs, and poorly funded public schools for black children. In this way, whites in the Jim Crow South crafted a bitter web of political, economic, and social barriers to full and equal citizenship for their fellow black citizens.
Plessy v. Ferguson
Rosa Parks wasn't the first person to challenge segregated transportation. More than fifty years earlier, an African American man from New Orleans named Homer Plessy challenged segregated train cars. In 1892, Plessy boarded a "whites-only" compartment on a train, and was arrested when he refused to move to a "colored" compartment when called upon to do so. (Plessy planned to be arrested, intending to test the constitutionality of Louisiana's segregation law by arguing that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law for all citizens).
Plessy's case against segregation wound its way through the court system, finally arriving in the Supreme Court in 1896. In a majority decision, the Court ruled that Louisiana's segregation law did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment so long as separate accommodations for whites and blacks were equal.
Summarizing the majority ruling, Justice Henry Brown wrote, "We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff's argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it."
The Plessy ruling rendered racial segregation legal throughout the United States. Although Jim Crow segregation was practiced most fiercely in the Deep South, some segregationist practices, especially housing and job discrimination, existed elsewhere in the United States as well.
The end of Jim Crow
Jim Crow segregation came under increasing attack following the Second World War. In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color-line in baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1948, President Truman issued an executive order officially desegregating the US armed forces.
But it was not until 1954 that the Plessy decision was overturned in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, when the Supreme Court ruled that segregated facilities were "inherently unequal." Throughout the 1960s, thanks to the work of the Civil Rights Movement, Jim Crow was dismantled piece by piece, through legislation that made it illegal to segregate public facilities, suppress voting, discriminate in housing, or prohibit interracial marriage.
What do you think?
Can you define Jim Crow segregation in your own words and give one example of it?
The Declaration of Independence declares “all men are created equal.” So how could whites justify imposing Jim Crow laws across the South?
How do you think Jim Crow segregation affected the lives of African Americans? How would you have felt if you had been subject to the economic, social, personal, and cultural effects of Jim Crow laws?
Want to join the conversation?
- how did Jim crow segregation affect the lives of African Americans(5 votes)
- The Declaration of Independence declares “all men are created equal.” So how could whites justify imposing Jim Crow laws across the South?(0 votes)
- The declaration of independence, as my 9th grade history teacher pointed out in 1966, is not a law or a legal document. It's merely a lot of inspiring ideas.(16 votes)
- Admittedly, Jim Crow segregation is sort of discrimination laws created to divide two regions ( North and South) racially. Simply put, the laws, however, were applied in the southern region. For example, the white who married the African American would be faced a harsh punishment.
Well, it imposed detrimental challenges on the coloured people in the south. As can be know, they were restricted on so many rights. If we take a look at Crow's case on the trained, he was racially divided on the seat of the train. As he boarded the compartment of the whites, he was alleged by the white Americans.If I put myself in their shoes, the coloured people, that would hurt both physical and mental strength or it perhabs leads to mental illness. The African Americans seemingly lived in cells that did not have walls.(4 votes)
- What were two causes of Jim Crow and what were the two effects of Jim Crow?(0 votes)
- Dear Rachel, this looks like your homework. You should do that yourself. But, since you didn't know that, I'll give a hint. Two causes of Jim Crow were fear and racism. Two effects of Jim Crow were racism and fear.(16 votes)
- why would the supreme court even think that allowing the jim crow laws was good. because that goes against a lot of what A. lincoln tried to fix after the civil war.(2 votes)
- By the time that the military occupation of reconstruction was over, the former Confederate states had been readmitted to the union, and the Jim Crow legislation began to bear fruit, A. Lincoln had long been dead. In fact, he didn't even make it to the end of the war to be able to "try to fix things after the war".(2 votes)
- what does the car for white folks symbolized(2 votes)
- It symbolizes how differently white citizens were treated compared to black citizens. If a black citizen stood up for themselves, they could face harsh repercussions.(2 votes)
- What was Jim Crows biggiest acomplishments(2 votes)
- The Jim Crow system succeeded in keeping Black People under control in the states where it operated. It also motivated the great migration, in which thousands of black people left oppression in agricultural lands in the South to live under industrial oppression in the North.(2 votes)
- I don't want to answer(1 vote)
- How did Jim Crow manifest itself in Pasco?--How did society segregate itself there?(1 vote)