The Jim Crow Era

The Jim Crow Era
• By 1900 many of the gains made by
African Americans during
Reconstruction had been taken
away, and relations between blacks
and whites had grown strained.
Three different approaches to African
American equality
• Most African Americans favored social
• Many blacks and some whites called for
racial separation
• Many whites looked for ways to keep races
separate and unequal through voluntary
– Called for separation of the races in
daily life; developed into new era of
discrimination called the Jim Crow era
that lasted nearly 100 years
History of Jim Crow
• The origins of the term "Jim Crow" can be
traced back to a song and dance known as
"Jump Jim Crow" in 1828 by a white
comedian known as Thomas Dartmouth
• Rice created this routine earlier in the
decade. He was supposedly inspired by
watching a crippled black man known as
"Jim Cuff" on a Cincinnati levee, dancing to
his own accord.1 After some time, he
imitated this dance while smearing grease
paint on his face, a technique now known as
Redeemer governments
•1870s white Democrats who favored
segregation began to gain power in
•Southerners referred to new governments
as Redeemer governments
•Thought the new leaders would “redeem”
the South by reversing Reconstruction
•Firm believers in white supremacy,
leaders wanted to limit the power of
black citizens
Jim Crow laws
•Redeemer lawmakers passed laws to
establish separate facilities for black people;
laws became known as Jim Crow laws
•Throughout South blacks forced to ride in
separate railway cars, eat in separate
restaurants, attend separate schools, and live in
separate neighborhoods
•In the North, laws less widespread; African
Americans still dealt with prejudice; blacks
denied admittance to hotels, restaurants,
and theaters
What events led to the
passing of Jim Crow
laws in the South?
(3 events)
Legalizing Segregation
• The Slaughterhouse Cases
•Slaughterhouse owners argued Louisiana
law violated 14th amendment rights; no
state could impede the rights and privileges
of its citizens
•Court did not agree; 14th only protected
rights of national citizenship—not rights
granted by states
•Cases later used to justify Jim Crow laws
and creation of separate facilities in states
• Plessy v. Ferguson
–“Separate but equal”
–In landmark case the Supreme
Court sided with the Louisiana
court; agreed segregation was
lawful as long as blacks and
whites had access to equal
Louisiana Supreme Court. Justice Henry
Billings Brown, writing the majority
opinion, wrote the following:
"Legislation is powerless to eradicate
racial instincts or to abolish
distinctions based on physical
differences....If the civil and political
rights of both races be equal, one
cannot be inferior to the other civilly
or politically. If one race be inferior
to the other socially, the
Constitution of the United States
cannot put them on the same plane.”
Black Disfranchisement
•New black codes included unfair voting
laws; adding literacy tests to their
voting restrictions
•Many blacks had received no education;
could not pass tests
•States voting fee called a poll tax
•Poor and illiterate whites were
exempted by grandfather clause; if
grandfather eligible to vote, then that
person could vote as well
Racial Violence on the Rise
• Race Riots
•Number of race riots increased; in cities
large numbers of whites took to the streets
to punish blacks accused of crimes
•1st major riot in Wilmington, NC in 1898,
another in Atlanta, GA in 1906
•Lynchings and race riots more common in
the South; both occurred in the North as
Racial Violence on the Rise
• Lynching
•Most common forms of racial violence in
late 1800s—lynchings, murders of
individuals without a trial
•Nearly 900 blacks lynched from 1882 to
1892; many committed no crime
•Black journalist Ida Wells- Barnett
fought to expose and end the practice
Between 1882 and 1951, 4, 730 people were lynched in the United
•3,437 were Black
•1,293 were White
•The most lynching happened in 1892 (203). 161 were
•The Chicago Tribune did not start keeping record of lynching until
•The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP) did not start keeping records until 1912.
Deep South
Mississippi/ 462
Georgia/ 423
Louisiana/ 283
Alabama/ 262
South Carolina/
Border South
Florida/ 212
Tennessee/ 174
Arkansas/ 162
Kentucky/ 118
North Carolina/