Jim Crow Laws

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Comedy performer Thomas “Jim Crow” Rice coined the term “Jim Crow” through his derogatory minstrel shows in which danced and sang in an offensive way towards African Americans while covered in black shoe polish. Even though Rice was only trying to entertain his audience, his performances suggested that all African Americans were ignorant useless buffoons Rice’s performances were so derogatory towards African Americans that they removed signs of humanity from them and caused people to become less compassionate towards Negroes. As a “system of laws and customs that imposed racial segregation and discrimination on Africans”, Jim Crow Laws were ubiquitous in America from the 1860’s to the 1960’s (Jim Crow Movement). These Jim Crow Laws came into effect after the end of the Reconstruction Era and restricted the social, political and economic rights of African Americans. Unlike the De Jure Segregation of Jim Crow Laws, Jim Crow Etiquette represented the De Facto Segregation in America-- segregation based on customs and practices rather than law. Jim Crow Etiquette is the unwritten but tacit rules of relationships between African Americans and Caucasians. People who disobeyed the customary Jim Crow Etiquette risked their lives, property, jobs and families regardless of race. Harper Lee portrays Jim Crow Laws and Jim Crow Etiquette in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, through communications between African Americans and Caucasians and accusations toward African Americans to show how Caucasians tried to protect the social hierarchy of Post Reconstruction America.

Harper Lee uses communications between African Americans and Caucasians to show the impact of Jim Crow Laws and mainly, the unwritten yet viable, Jim Crow Etiquette through the w...

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...De Facto segregation. Even though Jim Crow Laws and Jim Crow Etiquette no longer exist in America, African Americans and other minority groups still face discrimination socially, politically and economically.

Works Cited

Davis, Ronald L. F. Ph. D. "Racial Etiquette: The Racial Customs and Rules of Racial Behavior in Jim Crow America." The History of Jim Crow. New York Life, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2011 .

“Jim Crow Movement.” American History. ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 14 Feb. 2011 .

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1960. Print.

Pilgrim, Dr. David. Jim Crow: Museum of Racist Memorabilia. Ferris State University, Sept. 2000. Web. 15 Feb 2011 .

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