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In 1865, four million Americans who were called slaves simply because they were born black, were now free with an expectation that they would enjoy all civil liberties. The post-Civil War period of Reconstruction provided freedmen with various rights, but in little over a decade, the promise of emancipation and equal rights was gone, replaced by rigid system of laws designed to keep blacks from experiencing any of their newly achieved rights, which is known as the era of Jim Crow, the American form of racial Apartheid that separated Americans into two groups: whites, the so-called superiors and blacks, the inferiors. The phase that began in 1877 was inaugurated by withdrawal of Union troops from the south that would leave the future of former slaves in the hands of white southerners. The rise of Jim Crow segregation in the 1890s was not a mere expression of racism but developed out of a complex and corrupt outworking of many political causes like removal Northern troops and the disintegration of Republican influence, and economic interests like Panic of 1893, which imposed separation of blacks to avoid competition, in the impoverished, post-Reconstruction south.
The unique structure of slavery in pre-Civil war period required close interaction between blacks and whites, which made segregation practically inconvenient. With black people working in the white household, there were bonds of intimacy; affection and sometime blood relations existed between them. They lived under same roof, went to same church and shared in the family life. There was a strong relation between blacks and whites, which could not be changed overnight. As quoted in Woodward’s book, Sir George Campbell, a member of parliament visited the South, in 1879, to...

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Works Cited

• Woodward, C. Vann. The Strange Career of Jim Crow. New York, Oxford University Press, 1966

• Bacote, A. Clarence. “Negro Proscriptions, Protests, and Proposed Solutions in Georgia, 1880-1908.” The Journal of Southern History. Vol. 25, No. 4, Nov. 1959, 471-498

• Harlan, John Marshal. “Dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson.” Voices of Freedom: a documentary history, edited by Eric Foner—3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011

• Wells, Ida B. “Crusade for Justice.” Voices of Freedom: a documentary history, edited by Eric Foner—3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011

• The Seattle Republican. “Jim Crow Cardom,” Feb 15,1907.

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