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    Jim Crow Laws Essay (1085 words)

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    Jim Crow LawsThe name for the Jim Crow Laws comes from a character in a Minstrel Show. TheMinstrel Show was one of the first forms of American entertainment, which started in 1843. They were performed by successors of black song and dance routine actors.

    The first MinstrelShow was started by a group of four men from Virginia, who all painted their faces black andperformed a small song and dance skit in a small theater in New York City. Thomas DartmouthRice, a white actor, performed the Jim Crow Minstrel Show. Rice was inspired by an old blackman who sang and danced in Louisville, Kentucky (Clay, 1). The skit ended in the same chorusas the old black mans song which was Wheel about and turn about and do jis so, Ebry time Iwheel about I jump Jim Crow. Rices song and dance got him from Louisville to Cincinnati toPittsburgh to Philadelphia and then to New York City in 1832.

    Finally, Rice performedthroughout Europe, going to London and Dublin, where the Irish especially liked Ricesperformance (http://www. sims. berkely. edu/courses/is182/paint167. html). In the north, slavery was just about non existent, so blacks could be seen free in a lot ofcities in the north.

    In some cities even, blacks and whites lived together without a problem sosegregation was not seen completely throughout America. Before 1890, segregation was notseen in most of the south, which was where 80 percent of the black population lived (Massey, 17-20). Segregation actually started in the north, but when it moved into the south, it becamemuch worse (Woodward, 17). It was thought that segregation came along with slavery, but therewere more reasons, like pure racism.

    Cities had ghettos where all of the blacks lived in acommunity, away from the whites. After slavery ended, the north did treat the blacks with morerespect, but not much more. In the north, slaves could not be separated from their families andthey could not be legally forced to work. Even though the blacks in the north were not slavesanymore, they were still treated poorly in some cases.

    Towards the end of the Civil War, thenorth was really showing their racism (Woodward, 21). Most hotels, motels and restaurantswould not let blacks inside, so shortly after the Civil Rights Act of 1875, the blacks tested theirrights on all sorts of public utilities. They did not, however, take advantage of these rights sothey would be assured to keep them. The south still treated blacks with disrespect. Even thoughblacks could be found in most northern cities, they rarely made up much more than 30 percent ofthe population of that area, so blacks were still mostly living in the south, where they were stillbeing treated poorly (Massey, 20). Even after slavery ended, whites, with the Jim Crow Laws, were still separatingthemselves from blacks with segregation.

    Jim Crow Laws were passed by many southern statesin the late nineteenth century. The laws stayed in effect from 1865-1950. The Jim Crow Lawsoriginated from a Minstrel Show character called Jim Crow, performed by Thomas D. Rice. TheJim Crow movement turned out to be the biggest influence that led to the immobilization of theAmerican black population. The laws were basically just a technique to get around the basicrights of blacks.

    It created, once again, a divisional racial system in the south. Cities nowneeded new and different systems to control the blacks and whites. One part of the Jim CrowLaws allowed the government to fully neglect the educational needs of black children, in fact, thelaws had the most effect on the education of black children. The schooling system made blackand white schools greatly unequal, and cultivated the educational needs of white children.

    Manyblack children were left uneducated due to these laws. The condition of black schools were overcrowded in run down buildings. There were enough schools for whites so they did not have thisproblem. The teachers in black schools were poorly trained and had to work with the lack ofsupplies they had, but white teachers were well trained and got money for supplies from thegovernment. Many black families were forced to move north to have hope of their childrenbeing educated.

    In the north, Jim Crow Laws were not as present and Massachusetts ended someof the laws before the Civil War ended. The term Jim Crow was used so often it became anadjective in the American language in 1838. The term is no longer used in the language though(Woodward, 7). In 1889, the Interstate Commerce Commission made railroads provide equal fairness toboth races. The same accommodations, however, were not required for blacks and whites.

    By1891, seven southern states passed laws that stated separate but equal railroad transportation. They wanted blacks and whites to ride in the same trains with the same treatment but theywanted them to be in separate railcars. The case was known as Plessy versus Ferguson. Theruling of this case was not equal in fact and it allowed the usage of more Jim Crow Laws. Somerailroads made blacks ride in second class even if they paid to ride in first class. Due to theruling of the case of Plessy versus Ferguson, segregation laws soon made blacks use differentwater fountains, restaurants, recreational facilities and other things, than the whites(http://www.

    usbol. com/ctjournal/JCrow1. html). The Reconstruction Years was a time period after the Civil Rights Act of 1875 wasdeclared unconstitutional, where whites started treating blacks with more respect and equality. During this time, blacks and whites still did not interact with each other much but it was moreoften than before. They were now in direct competition with each other in the city.

    Large blackcommunities started springing up around America during this time. These new communitiescreated a challenge to the people that lived in southern states, and they had trouble controllingthem, unlike the ease they had controlling more rural blacks. Blacks and whites now used thesame utilities and facilities. Whites could no longer have their own restaurants hotels or waterfountains. Before these acts, blacks were not allowed to vote.

    Massachusetts, New Hampshire,Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island let blacks vote in 1860. Only six percent of the blackpopulation lived in states that allowed them to vote because politicians believed blacks could notdeal with any political issues. After more blacks were allowed to vote, white politicians nowrealized that they needed black support. If the Jim Crow Laws were never passed, the black population would have grown morefreely faster and with much less hassle than they had to go through.

    The Jim Crow Laws shouldnot have been passed because they only delayed the freedom of blacks and hurt our nationsimage.Category: History

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