The History of Jim Crow
By the 1890's segregation was a prominent feature of life in the South.  The Southern states formed a segregated society by passing so-called Jim Crow laws.  These laws required African Americans and whites to be separated in almost every public place where they might come in contact with each other.

In 1896 the Supreme Court upheld Jim Crow laws and segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson.  The case involved a Louisiana law requiring separate sections on trains for African Americans.  The courts ruled that segregation was legal as long as African Americans had access to public facilities or accomodations equal to those of whites.

The problem was that the facilities were separate but in no way equal.  Southern states spent much more money on schools and other facilities for whites than those for African Americans.  This "separate but equal" doctrine provided a legal foundation for segregation in the South that lasted for more than 50 years.

Jim Crow laws were established after the Civil War. The laws limited the rights of freed slaves. Jim Crow laws were also know as the Black Codes. The laws were different in each state but they still had the same form of restriction. The Black Codes determined which kind of jobs African Americans could hold. Here are some of the restrictions African Americans faced:

· Blacks restricted from renting or leasing land outside of cities or towns.
· Blacks forbidden to roam freely.
· Blacks forbidden to marry outside of their race.
· The Grandfather Clauses introduced. (These laws allowed individuals who did not pass the literacy test to vote if their fathers or grandfathers had voted before Reconstruction.  Because African Americans could not vote until 1867, they were excluded.)
· Blacks prevented from entering many public places like restaurants, schools and more.

Along with restrictions on laws passed to segregate society, white violence against African Americans increased.  This violence took many terrible forms, including lynching, in which an angry mob killed a person by hanging.  African Americans were lynched because they were suspected of committing crimes or because they did not behave as whites thought they should.

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