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Jim crow laws

“ It shall be unlawful for a negro and white person to play together or in

company with each other in any game of cards or dice, dominoes or checkers.”

—Birmingham, Alabama, 1930

“Marriages are void when one party is a white person and the other is
possessed of one-eighth or more negro, Japanese, or Chinese blood.”

—Nebraska, 1911

“Separate free schools shall be established for the education of children of

African descent; and it shall be unlawful for any colored child to attend any
white school, or any white child to attend a colored school.”

—Missouri, 1929

“All railroads carrying passengers in the state (other than street railroads) shall
provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races,
by providing two or more passenger cars for each passenger train, or by
dividing the cars by a partition, so as to secure separate accommodations.”

—Tennessee, 1891
The following laws are just a handful of examples of the regulations that proscribed
African American life in large and small ways between Reconstruction and the mid-

Before the Reconstruction the Emancipation Proclamation symbolically

established a national intent to eradicate slavery in the United States in 1863.
Decades of state and federal legislation around civil rights followed. In January
of 1865, the 13th amendment to the Constitution officially abolished slavery in
this country . However, immediately after the Civil War ended, some states
began imposing restrictions on the daily lives of African Americans, whether
they were survivors of slavery or had always been free. By the end of the 19th
century, laws or informal practices that required that African Americans be
segregated from whites were often called Jim Crow practices .

The roots of Jim Crow laws began as early as 1865 during the reconstruction
Era under the name of The Black codes which were  strict local and state laws
that detailed when, where and how formerly enslaved people could work, and
for how much compensation. The codes appeared throughout the South as a
legal way to put black citizens into indentured servitude, to take voting rights
away, to control where they lived and how they traveled and to seize children
for labor purposes.

The majority of states and local communities passed “Jim Crow” laws that
mandated “separate but equal”  standard established by the Supreme Court
in Plessy v. Fergurson (1896) which supported racial segregation for public
facilities across the nation . Therefore  Jim Crow Laws were statutes and
ordinances established between 1874 and 1975 to separate the white and
black races in the American South. In theory, it was to create “separate but
equal” treatment, but in practice Jim Crow Laws condemned black citizens to
inferior treatment and facilities. Education was segregated as were public
facilities such as hotels ,restaurants, libraries and parks under Jim Crow Laws.
"Whites Only" and "Colored" signs were constant reminders of the enforced
racial order.

The most important Jim Crow laws required that public schools, public facilities,
e.g., water fountains, restrooms, and public transportation, like trains and
buses, have separate facilities for whites and blacks. These laws meant that
black people were legally required to:

• attend separate schools and churches

• use public bathrooms marked “for colored only”
• eat in a separate section of a restaurant
• sit in the back of a bus

Moreover , these Laws forbade African Americans from living in white

neighborhoods. Segregation was enforced for public pools, phone booths,
hospitals, asylums, jails and residential homes for the elderly and handicapped.

Some states required separate textbooks black and white students. In Atlanta,
African Americans in court were given a different Bible from whites to swear
on. Marriage and cohabitation between whites and blacks was strictly
forbidden in most Southern states.
In addition, blacks were systematically denied the right to vote in most of the
rural South through the selective application of literacy tests and other racially
motivated criteria.

In the middle of the twentieth century African Americans had enough of these
laws and decided to rebel, generations of resistance to segregation culminated
in the Civil Rights movement, in which African Americans launched widespread
demonstrations and other public protests to demand the rights and protections
provided by the Constitution. As a result, a series of landmark court cases and
new legislation in the 1950s and 60s, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and
the Voting Rights Act of 1965, relegated many of the Jim Crow laws and
practices of the previous century to the dustbin of history. The impact of a
century of segregation can still be felt today, and, although the specific
segregation policies of the 19th and 20th centuries have been discredited,
voices calling for equal rights for all can still be heard today.