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The Jim Crow Era

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 1 year, 8 months ago

Jim Crow Drinking Fountain county courthouse lawn, Halifax, North Carolina, 1938

Jim Crow Drinking Fountain county courthouse lawn,

Halifax, North Carolina, 1938



 AP United States History Period 6.2


Social and Cultural Change:  Rights for Women and African Americans


Jim Crow laws were oppressive laws and policies instituted by white southerners in an attempt to restrict the rights and opportunities of African Americans.


  • Jim Crow laws focused on segregating blacks and whites, with whites maintaining access to institutions of power and nicer facilities.


    • Whites in the South were unaccustomed to living side by side with African Americans who they could no longer legally enslave. Also, they were not accustomed, nor willing, to compete with them economically. 


  • Jim Crow, then, was a way for Whites to maintain some level of economic and social control over African Americans despite the abolition of slavery.


    • Jim Crow laws increased after Plessy v. Ferguson (See below).

Jim Crow Laws started in 1876 and lasted all the way until 1965. They allowed segregation on the basis of "separate but equal" even though that was rarely the case. The remaining Jim Crow laws were eradicated in the "Civil Rights Act of 1964" and the "Voting Rights Act of 1965".



Juan Crow Laws


Juan Crow Laws targeted Mexican Americans




Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938



Plessy vs. Ferguson 


Plessy v. Ferguson was a landmark 1896 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation under the “separate but equal” doctrine.

  •  The case stemmed from an 1892 incident in which African American train passenger Homer Plessy refused to sit in a car for blacks.


  •  Rejecting Plessy’s argument that his constitutional rights were violated, the Supreme Court ruled that a law that “implies merely a legal distinction” between whites and blacks was not unconstitutional.


  •  As a result, restrictive Jim Crow legislation and separate public accommodations based on race became commonplace.


  •  In declaring separate-but-equal facilities constitutional on intrastate railroads, the Court ruled that the protections of 14th Amendment applied only to political and civil rights (like voting and jury service), not “social rights” (sitting in the railroad car of your choice).

  • Source 


 Green Book (2018) 


Summary: Dr Don Shirley is a world-class African-American pianist, who is about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip, a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation.


  • This could be a good resource to show the students to see this movie, while it is a Hollywood production it is a nice change up from factual or documentaries.


  • A possible lesson plan could have them write a summary on their thoughts about the film. Another activity could be the students writing their own screen play for a scene or a movie to depict the the time period. 
    • They could also change a scene of the movie to make it more factual.  


Source: http://www.blckdmnds.com/history-school-segregation-protest/



The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow Timeline


Here is a timeline of the Jim Crow Laws from 1870 to 1959. 



Jim Crow Era

external image OrteliusWorldMap.jpeg Click here for an interactive map showing Jim Crow laws by state.

Before the Jim Crow laws were the Black Codes, created by White southerners to curtail the freedoms of former slaves. These regulations forced African Americans into agricultural labor and domestic work. Codes dictated the hours of labor, duties, and behavior.


  • In some places, Blacks could not enter a town without permission.




Click here for a Mississippi Black Code document (1866). Go here for Louisiana Black Code document (1865).


  1. Click here for more information about Jim Crow laws.
  2. Click Here for personal narratives about the fight against Jim Crow laws 
  3. Here is Worse than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice by David M. Oshinsky, a book detailing lives of African Americans during Jim Crow: https://www.amazon.com/Worse-than-Slavery-Parchman-Justice/dp/0684830957/ref=sr_1_1?crid=12N8J2XEYCOOF&dchild=1&keywords=worse+than+slavery+by+david+m.+oshinsky&qid=1617043456&sprefix=worse+th%2Caps%2C173&sr=8-1  




Learning Plans for the Jim Crow Era




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