The Tragedy of the Jim Crow Laws

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Jim Crow laws are about power. Power of one race over another. These laws really highlight the flaws and weakness of human nature. One group of people asserting power over another for the pride and vanity of a system of politics that had been defeated at the cost of thousands of American lives during the civil war.

The term "Jim Crow" has its origins of interest also. The interpretation was intended to ridicule the African American by white American's in the position of power.

The Jim Crow laws were initiated after the civil war during the deconstruction of the new south and they help to create a racial caste system in the American South.

These laws were protected by the constitution and were a form of constitutional racism. When the Supreme Court ruled on Plessy v. Ferguson the Federal Government legalized racism but under the guise of a doctrine referred to as "separate but equal".

The Jim Crow laws were in place until the Supreme Court of 1954 threw them out with it's ruling on Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka. This court had a different opinion of equality.

Soon after the Reconstruction, African Americans and whites Americans ate in the same restaurants, often rode together in the same railway cars, used the same public facilities, but did not often interact as equals. The development of large black communities in urban areas and the significant black labor force in factories presented a new challenge to white Southerners. They could not control these new communities in the same informal ways they had been able to control rural black Americans, which were more directly dependent on white landowners and merchants (sharecropping system) than their urban counterparts. In the city, blacks and whites were in more direct competition than they had been in the countryside. There was more danger of social mixing. The city, therefore, required different, and more rigidly institutionalized, systems of control, henceforth Jim Crow laws. The Jim Crow laws were a response to the new reality that required the white supremacy to move to where it would have a more rigid legal and institutional basis to retain control over the black population.

Why title these laws Jim Crow? The definition tells why;

Jim Crow or jim crow (jîm¹ kro¹) Slang. noun

The systematic practice of discriminating against and suppressing Black people.


1. Upholding or practicing discrimination against and suppression of Black people: Jim Crow laws; a Jim Crow town.
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