The American civil war in the early 1860’s led to ratification of amendments that abolished the slave trade and recognition of African Americans as American citizens. However, this led to hostility between the native Americans and African American and increased stereotypes in the society creating different classes of people in the mainstream American society. African Americans were perceived as low class citizens while native Americans created white supremacy segregating and oppressing the African Americans. Jim Crow laws were laws passed throughout the southern states in the 1890’s with the aim of preventing African Americans from achieving equality and improve their status.
The southern states passed these laws to impose legal punishments on people who related and consorted with people of different races. These laws forbid intermarriage between the white and the black, and imposed a requirement for businesses to separate their white and black clients. These laws were also imposed on hospitals, stations, public and social places to restrict the interactions of people from different races. For example, the laws restricted corporations and individual white nurses in the wards or rooms in both private and public hospitals from attending to Negroes. The trains were partitioned, and the conductors of the passenger train were required to assign each passenger designated partition, in accordance with their race.
The business operators with restaurants were imposed by a law, which restricted operation of a restaurant where the whites and black Americans were served in the same room. Although Jim Crow was not a person the laws affected millions of people, but it was named after the renowned minstrel song, which stereotyped African Americans. In Florida, a law was passed requiring the separation of schools for white children and those of Negro, which were conducted separately. Even children committed to reform schools were required to be separated from each other based on their color. The pool game and billiards, which was common also, faced restriction in Alabama, where it was unlawful for a Negro to play with a white man. In Virginia, any public entertainment attended by both the white and black people was expected to separate the white race from the Negroes.
These laws also created impediments for African American people pursuing equality in the society. For example, in Mississippi, people were restricted from printing, publishing and circulating arguments, which favored social equality and intermarriage between Negroes and white people. Any person who engaged in such acts was guilty of a misdemeanor. Property owners were restricted to letting their property to people of one race, and it was illegal for a person to rent a part of a building occupied by whites to a Negro. Prison wardens were also required to separate white convicts from black convicts in eating and sleeping. It is worth noting that the facilities of African Americans were under equipped as compared to those of white native Americans. Additionally, the services provided in Negro based social amenities such as hospitals and schools were poor as compared to those of whites. The Jim Crow Laws were used to enforce white supremacy in the American society where the African Americans were perceived as second class citizens.
The laws imposed restriction of intermarriages not only for the Negroes, but in the majority of the states intermarriage between whites and any other race was unlawful. African Americans were restricted from visiting parks owned and maintained by the city for the benefit of whites and vice versa in Georgia. In Northern Carolina, white militias were enrolled differently with colored militias, and they were not compelled to work in the same organization. The majority of the states required the establishment and maintenance of different waiting rooms in transportation utilities. African American tutors were restricted from teaching in white schools, and any person involved in such an act was guilty of a misdemeanor upon conviction. In Oklahoma, fishing, boating and bathing was segregated where the Negroes and whites’ lockers were separated even though it was in the same building.
Corporations operating telephone booths were required to establish and maintain separate booths for whites and colored people when there was demand for such. The commission was vested with power and authority to determine the necessity of separate booths. In Texas, white people were entitled to privileges as determined and prescribed commissioners’ court and Negroes were served in separate branches under the supervision of a Negro. The Jim crows Laws were abolished in the 1960’s after massive civil rights movements led by Martin Luther Jr., who fought for equal rights.
In conclusion, Jim Crow did not refer to any individual, but a minstrel renowned song characterized by stereotyping Negroes. The laws were passed with the aim of separating and oppressing the African American people and enforce white supremacy. These laws started in the 1890’s until during the civil rights movement in the 1960’s when they were abolished, and African Americans achieved equality. The laws treated African Americans as second class citizens with poor conditions of living as compared to whites.
Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. California: The New Press, 2010.
National Park Service. "Jim Crow Laws." 16 September 2013. Martin Luther Jr. 29 September 2013 <http://www.nps.gov/malu/forteachers/jim_crow_laws.htm>.
Tischauser, Leslie V. Jim Crow Laws. Chicago: ABC-CLIO , 2012.