Jim Crow Laws – Examples of Jim Crow Laws and Racial Segregation

Jim Crow Laws

The name Jim Crow was the racial caste system that worked primarily, but not exclusively, in the southern and border states between 1877 and the mid-1960s. Jim Crow was more than just a series of laws against blacks.

Jim Crow was a character created by Thomas Darmouth Rice (actor). This personified on stage in 1828, an exaggerated stereotype of black, satirizing the black.Jim Crow

It was a way of life. Under Jim Crow, blacks and mulattoes (colored) were relegated to the status of second-class citizens.

Jim Crow represented the legitimization of anti-black racism. Many Christian ministers and theologians taught that whites were the chosen people, blacks and mulattos were doomed to be servants, and God supported racial segregation.

Hence the name Jim Crow was a phrase that was used as a collective racial epithet, not as offensive as black, but as offensive as saying raccoon or black.

From being a derogatory term, it changed to being a term to describe the laws and customs of oppression of Black people.

After”Reconstruction” in 1877 until the mid-1960s, laws were enacted to remove many of the rights acquired by blacks by constitutional amendments 13, 14.

Where did Jim Crow’s idea for the Term come from?

The term originated from a song performed by Daddy Rice, a white singer-songwriter from 1830. Rice covered her face with charcoal paste, or burnt cork, to look like a black man, singing and dancing as if it were a caricature of a naive black man.

By the 1850s, this black-faced character had cruelly become one of the most disparaging and stereotypical images of the concept of black man’s inferiority in American popular culture and was a stereotype in the shows of the day.

The term became synonymous in the late 19th century with a perverse concept of racial segregation, aimed specifically at African Americans.

It is not clear why this term was chosen. What is clear, however, is that by 1900, the term was generally identified with the racist laws and actions that deprived African Americans of their civil rights.

Defining blacks as inferior to whites, and labeling them as subordinate persons.
It was at that time that this concept was incorporated into the lexicon of racial intolerance following the historic decision of the United States Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, following a lawsuit filed by the New Orleans Citizenship Council.

The idea was shared by many of the Southern states, trying to thwart all the efforts and achievements made during the Reconstruction period, after the Civil War.

When Were The Jim Crow Laws Enacted?

At the end of the war, a federal law was passed that recognized civil rights in the South for African Americans who had previously been slaves.

However, in the 1870s, conservative white Democrats began to regain power in many southern states. Thanks to their election victories in which groups of racist whites intimidated African Americans into not voting.

In 1877, federal troops withdrew from the southern states and in the next elections, all state governments in this part of the country fell to the side of the conservative Democrats, who began to pass the Jim Crow laws.

These laws were enacted in 1876 and extended until 1965 under the slogan”separate but equal”.

These laws separated social benefits according to ethnicity or skin color, mainly applied to public spaces such as schools, restrooms, restaurants, parks, transportation and even the military.

These standards were not homogeneous in all the states and cities in which they were adopted. They affected a large number of aspects of the lives of African Americans and citizens of other races, especially Hispanics, and had the common denominator of the denial of fundamental rights.

What were things forbidden by the Jim Crow laws?

Racial segregation under these laws was so important that there were white water troughs and black water troughs.

These standards were not homogeneous in all the states and cities in which they were adopted. They affected a large number of aspects of the lives of African Americans and citizens of other races, especially Hispanics, and had the common denominator of the denial of fundamental rights.

The most common laws prohibited marriage between people of different sexes or forced businesses, public institutions, schools, or transportation to set up separate spaces for whites and African Americans.

There were also rules like the one in Alabama that said no nurse could be forced to take care of an African-American patient.

Another rule of the same state that expressly forbade two people of different races to play pool together.

Even in Georgia, it was forbidden to bury an African-American in the same cemetery where white citizens were buried.

In Mississippi, the printing or distribution of pamphlets calling for equality or mixed marriages was punishable by a $500 fine.

A new trend of Music against Rights

Jump Jim Crow began a new form of popular music and theatrical performance in the United States, which focused his attention on the mockery of blacks and mulattoes.

This new genre was called the minstrel show. Jim Crow as entertainment spread rapidly throughout the United States in the years leading up to the Civil War and eventually to the whole world.

Eventually, the term Jim Crow applied to the body of racial segregation laws nationwide.

Chronologists, eugenicists, frenologists, and social Darwinists, at all educational levels, reinforced the belief that blacks were innately intellectual and culturally inferior to whites.

The pro-segregation politicians gave eloquent speeches about the great danger of the integration and crossbreeding of the white race.

Newspaper and magazine writers routinely referred to blacks as niggers, coons, and brunettes; and worse, their articles reinforced anti-black stereotypes.

Even in the games, black children were portrayed as inferior beings. All major social institutions reflected and supported the oppression of Black and mulatto people.

Laws as Legislative Regulations.

These laws began as legislative regulations prohibiting people of color from exercising their right to vote.

Over time, this situation of discrimination by law in accessing the right to vote eventually imposed a culture of segregation, even in cases where there was no specific law to impose it.

No right to vote with Jim Crow

Throughout the years, there were stories of rebellion against the law, organizations of people of color, racial discrimination, and social problems.

It ended with the passage of two federal laws, first the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act a year later.

These two laws, together with previous Supreme Court rulings, put an end to the discrimination and racial segregation that existed by law throughout the country.

In addition to these laws, Southern states passed a series of laws that made it so difficult for African Americans to vote that they were deprived of their right to vote for nearly a century.

From the moment the Jim Crow Acts began to be passed, groups emerged that opposed them but almost always ran up against an indestructible wall.

It should be noted that as early as 1875 a Civil Rights Act was passed, which established that all citizens, regardless of race, color or previous condition of servitude, were entitled to equal treatment in public services.

Well, the Supreme Court, which in the United States is like the Constitutional Court in Spain, ruled that the law was unconstitutional on the grounds that Congress did not have control over private individuals or companies.

Protests against Jim Crow’s laws

These were very strong years for people of color where racial discrimination encompassed all spheres, their history is the basis for many real-life stories that involved self-improvement and social support.

Although there were protests against the Jim Crow Laws at all times, it was not until after World War II that the movement began to take the necessary impetus to overthrow these laws once and for all.

The civil rights movement was beginning to take on a definite form and as early as 1948 President Truman signed an Executive Order banning segregation in the armed forces.
Possibly, the main turning point came in 1964. In June of that year, three civil rights activists disappeared in Neshoba County, Mississippi.

They were volunteering to help African-American citizens register to vote.
The three young men were found more than a month later after an intense FBI search. The case gained the country’s attention, which President Johnson took advantage of to pressure Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act. Finally, Johnson signed the historic decree on July 2, 1964.

Examples of Jim Crow’s law

Jim Crow’s system was reinforced by the following beliefs or rationalizations: whites were superior to blacks in all important respects. Including, but not limited to, intelligence, morals, and civilized behavior

The following rules of protocol or formalities of Jim Crow show how extreme and perverse these rules were:

1- A black man could not offer his hand (shake hands) with a white man because it meant being socially equal. Obviously, a black man could not offer his hand or any other part of his body to a white woman, because he was at risk of being accused of rape.

2- Blacks and whites were not supposed to eat together. If they made him eat together, the whites were to be served first, and some sort of partition had to be placed between them.

3- In no case does a black man offer to light a white woman’s cigarette – that gesture implied intimacy.

4- Black people were not allowed to show public affection for each other in public, especially kissing, because whites would be offended.

5- Jim Crow prescribes that blacks be introduced to whites, never whites to blacks. For example:”Mr. Peters (the white one), this is Charlie (the black person), who I spoke to you.”

6- Whites did not use courtesy titles of respect when referring to blacks, for example, Mr., Mrs., Miss, Mr., or Mrs.. Instead, blacks were called by their first names. Blacks had to use courtesy titles when referring to whites and were not allowed to call them by their first names.

7- If a black person was riding in a car driven by a white person, the black person would sit in the back seat or the back of a truck.

8- White motorists had the right of way at all intersections.
Stetson Kennedy, author of the Jim Crow Guide, offered these simple rules that blacks were supposed to observe in talking to whites:

A- Never claim or even suggest that a white person is lying.
B- Never impute dishonorable intentions to a white person.
C- Never suggest that a white person is of an inferior class.
D- Never claim, or excessively demonstrate, superior knowledge or intelligence.
E- Never curse a white person.
F- Never laugh disparagingly at a white person.
G- Never comment on the appearance of a white woman.

Jim Crow’s typical laws, compiled by: The Martin Luther King, Jr:

1- Barbers. No color barber will serve as hairdresser girls or white women (Georgia).

2- blind. The Board of Directors… maintain a separate building… on the separate ground for the admission, care, instruction and support of all blind people of color or black race (Louisiana).

3- Burial. The officer in charge may not bury, or allow to be buried, any person of color over land set aside or the program used for the burial of white persons (Georgia).

4- Buses. Passenger stations in this state operated by motor carriers must have separate waiting rooms or separate white and colored (Alabama) lockers and space.

5- Custody of the children. It shall be unlawful for any parent, relative or other white person in this State who has control or custody of a white child, by right of guardianship, natural or acquired, or otherwise, to dispose of, give or deliver such white child permanently in the custody, control, maintenance or support of a black (South Carolina).

6- Education schools. The white children’s and black children’s schools will be held separately (Florida).

7- Libraries. The state librarian is directed to fit in and maintain a separate space for the use of people of color who may come to the library for the purpose of reading books or periodicals (North Carolina).

8- Mental Hospitals. The Control Board should see that separate and separate apartments are set up for such patients so that in no case blacks and whites are together (Georgia).

9- Militia. The white militia will be registered separately, and may never be required to serve in the same organization.

No colored troop organization will be allowed white troops being available and where white troops are allowed to be organized, colored troops will be under the command of white officers (North Carolina).

10- Nurses. No person or corporation shall require any White nurse to breastfeed in the wards or rooms of hospitals, public or private, in which black men are placed (Alabama).

11- Prisons. The principal shall see that white convicts shall have separate apartments for both eating and sleeping of black convicts (Mississippi).

12- Schools of reform. White and colored children committed to reform homes must be kept completely separate from each other (Kentucky).

13- Teaching. Any instructor who is required to teach at any school, college or institution where they are received and enrolled as students for the instruction of members of the white and colored race shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and convicted offense of any kind shall be fined… (Oklahoma).

14- Wine and beer. All persons licensed to conduct the business of selling beer or wine… will serve either white exclusively or people of exclusive color and will not be able to sell both breeds in the same room at any time (Georgia).

Jim Crow’s laws and labeling system were reinforced by violence, real and threats against people of color.

Blacks and mulattoes who violated Jim Crow’s rules, for example, drinking from the white water fountain or trying to vote, risked their homes, their jobs, even their lives.

Total Impunity Against Rights

Whites could physically abuse blacks and mulattos with impunity. Blacks and mulattoes had few legal recourses against these attacks because the criminal justice system under Jim Crow’s laws was controlled by whites: police, prosecutors, judges, jurors and prison officials.

Violence was fundamental in Jim Crow’s time because it was a method of social control against the black and mulatto population. The most extreme forms of violence against blacks and mulattoes under Jim Crow’s laws were lynching.

Prior to the American Civil War (1861-1865), free blacks, Southwestern Latinos, and fugitives were subjected to racial lynching.

But lynchings and attacks on Black people in the United States, especially in the South, increased dramatically after the civil war after slavery had been abolished and newly freed black and mulatto men had gained the right to vote.

The attack in Alabama

On March 7, 1965, a group of civil rights advocates was brutally attacked by Alabama police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

When they were holding a peaceful march for the state parliament in Montgomery. This convinced President Johnson that he could not wait any longer to pass a Voting Rights Act.

It would finally pass that same year and end the barriers created by the state to restrict the right to vote in all federal, state and local elections.

The end of the Jim Crow Law

In the 20th century, the Supreme Court began overturning Jim Crow’s laws on constitutional grounds. In the 1917 case of Buchananan v. Warley, the Court held that a Kentucky law could not require residential segregation.

In 1946, Irene Morgan v. Virginia ruled unconstitutional the segregation of public transportation between the different states in compliance with the so-called commerce clause established in the Constitution.

It was not until 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that the Court held that separate facilities were inherently unequal in public schools, effectively reversing Plessy v. Ferguson and banning Jim Crow’s measures in other areas of society.

What did segregation mean from an urbanistic point of view? What did it mean in Texas? Is segregation still an issue?

The Civil Rights Act

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance.

Specifically, Title VI provides that”no person in the United States, on the basis of race, color, or national origin, shall be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits from, or be subjected to discrimination in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Once the Act was implemented, its effects were far-reaching and had a huge long-term impact throughout the country.

Discrimination was banned in public schools, in government, and in employment, overriding Jim Crow’s laws in the southern United States.

It became illegal to force racial segregation into schools, housing, or hiring employees.

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