Home » Unit IV: Reconstruction » Jim Crow Laws

Jim Crow Laws

Jim Crow: Legal Discrimination

Jim Crow Laws

The name Jim Crow is often used to describe the segregation laws, rules, and customs which arose after Reconstruction ended in 1877 and continued until the mid-1960s.”Jim Crow” was a fictitious character in minstrel shows, along with counterparts Jim Dandy and Zip Coon. White audiences were receptive to the portrayals of Blacks as singing, dancing, grinning fools.

By 1838, the term “Jim Crow” was being used as a collective racial nickname for Blacks. Obviously, the popularity of minstrel shows aided the spread of Jim Crow as a racial slur. This use of the term did not last past a half century. By the end of the 19th Century, the words Jim Crow were less likely to be used to derisively describe Blacks; instead, the phrase Jim Crow was being used to describe laws and customs which oppressed Blacks.

Jim Crow laws were more prevalent throughout the southeast. These laws discriminated against African Americans with concern to attendance in public schools and the use of facilities such as restaurants, theaters, hotels, cinemas and public baths. Trains and buses were also segregated and in many states marriage between whites and African American people were prohibited.

In 1964, President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, managed to persuade Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act. This made racial discrimination in public places, such as theaters, restaurants and hotels, illegal. It also required employers to provide equal employment opportunities. Projects involving federal funds could now be cut off if there was evidence of discriminated based on color, race or national origin.

  1. Who was Jim Crow?
  2. Describe the time period that allowed for such an act to become popular:
  3. What was the purpose of Jim Crow Laws? Include at least 3 examples of Jim Crow laws)
  4. Eventually, Jim Crow laws were eradicated (ended). Describe what ended Jim Crow laws.

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