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Jim Crow Laws

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Jim Crow Laws: Ulysses Grant was the 18th American President who served in office from March 4, 1869 to March 4, 1877. One of the important events during his presidency was the emergence of the southern Jim Crow Laws.

Definition and Summary of the Jim Crow Laws
Summary and definition:
The Jim Crow Laws were statutes enacted by Southern states, beginning in the in the late 1870's and early 1880s, that legalized segregation between African Americans and whites. The Jim Crow laws restricted the rights of African Americans to use public facilities, schools, to vote, to find decent employment, basically excluding African Americans from exercising their rights as citizens of the United States.

Jim Crow Laws: Who was Jim Crow?
The name referred to in the Jim Crow Laws was derived from a very famous and popular minstrel act of the era. The Jim Crow character is depicted on your right and the picture is taken from the sheet music of a song called
'Jump Jim Crow'.

Who was Jim Crow? The African Trickster
Who was Jim Crow? The character of 'Jim Crow' was rooted in black African culture. Like Kokopelli in Native American culture, mythical creatures also appeared as shape-shifting Tricksters in the myths and legends of the African people. In the Yoruba culture of Nigeria and West African countries such as Sierra Leone, the Trickster is depicted as a shape-shifting crow named "Jim."

Who was Jim Crow? Made World Famous by Thomas D. Rice
The American performer and variety act who made the character 'Jim Crow' famous was called Thomas D. Rice (1808 – 1860). Thomas Dartmouth "Daddy" Rice blackened his skin by applying burnt cork, wore tattered clothes and performed a song and dance minstrel act. His minstrel song and dance featuring the song 'Jump Jim Crow' was a sensation and Rice became famous across America and in England. The extent of his fame was reflected in the Boston Post which reported in 1838 that, "the two most popular characters in the world at the present time are [Queen] Victoria and Jim Crow."

The Jim Crow Laws for kids
The name and the character was so famous that it came to be a derogatory nickname for African Americans and synonymous with their segregated life.

What was the Purpose of the Jim Crow Laws
Variations of different Jim Crow Laws were implemented from state to state but they all had the same aims and goals - the keep black African Americans segregated from white Americans.

Purpose of Jim Crow Laws Facts for kids: List and Examples of Jim Crow Laws
Interesting Purpose of Jim Crow Laws facts for kids are detailed below. The history of Jim Crow Laws is told in a factual sequence consisting of a series of short facts providing a simple method of relating the history and extensions of the Jim Crow Laws. The Jim Crow Laws continued to be extended until the 1960's.
The Facts, Purpose, List and examples of the Jim Crow Laws are detailed below:

Schools and Education examples: Prohibit black and white children from attending the same schools and establishing separate public schools for black children. Similar laws were applied to colleges

Records: Separate official records of black births, marriages, and deaths from records of the lives of white people

Marriage examples: Prohibiting a person of "pure white blood" from marrying or engaging in "illicit carnal intercourse" with anyone with African blood

Transport examples: Segregation measures on Steamboats and other forms of public transport. Railroad companies were required to maintain separate coaches for black passengers. African Americans were banned from sleeping cars and parlor cars. Separate waiting rooms and ticket windows were also required. Streetcar companies to designate separate seating areas for black riders. Streetcar companies were required to designate separate seating areas for black riders.

Tests: Attempting to eliminate the black vote by applying poll taxes literacy tests, and the "grandfather clause"

Prison examples: Segregating black and white prisoners in state penitentiaries

Examples of public places: Segregation in libraries, inns, hotels, restaurants, bars, hospitals, theaters, circuses, parks, beaches, restrooms, cemeteries, and wherever whites and blacks may commingle.

Examples in Housing: Laws prohibited homes designated for blacks to be built in white communities and vice versa.

Telephones: Telephone companies were required to maintain separate phone booths for blacks.

Boxers: Black boxers were forbidden from sparring with white boxers

Example in Sports: Whites and blacks were restricted from playing pool, baseball, basketball, football, cards, dominoes, checkers, or golf together

Factories and workplaces were required to maintain separate bathrooms

Jim Crow Laws: Background History to the Jim Crow Laws
The collective name "Jim Crow Laws" have come to describe the segregation laws that persisted in the South following the Reconstruction Era. During the Reconstruction period many important laws were passed including:

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1866 which was intended to protect ex-slaves (Freedmen) from legislation in the states in the South such as the infamous Black Codes.

  • The 1866 Civil Rights Act led to the emergence of white secret societies such as Ku Klux Klan. Congress responded to the intimidation practices and violence perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan by passing the Enforcement Acts

  • The Enforcement Acts were passed to guarantee the laws of the Constitution in respect of the 13th Amendment of 1865, which abolished slavery, the 14th Amendment of 1868 which related to citizenship rights and the 15th Amendment of 1870 that declared the voting rights of of black male citizens

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was not enforced, and the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in 1883 which gave constitutional foundation to the Jim Crow Laws enabling racial bigotry to survive, in the name of states’ rights, until the 1960s

  • In 1896, as a result of the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision, legal sanction was given to the "Jim Crow" segregation laws

US American History
1866-1881: Reconstruction Era
Racial Segregation History

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