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Jim Crow was not a person. Jim Crow were state and locals laws used to enforce racial segregation in the southern states of the country [Southern United States]. These laws were enacted during the Reconstruction Era [Period] and continued on until 1965. The laws affected the lives of millions. Keep reading for the comprehensive on site fact file detailing the Jim Crow Law or download our entire worksheet bundle to teach in the home or classroom environment.
- Reconstruction Era/Reconstruction Period – this era covers two senses within the context of America’s history.
First Sense – focuses on the complete history of the country right after the American Civil War; from 1865 to 1877.
Second Sense – focuses on the attempted rehabilitations made in the Southern United States from 1863 to 1877 as directed by the Congress. These rehabilitations were made to reconstruct the states and the society in general.
- Origin: The name Jim Crow was said to have come from a minstrel song, a song-and-dance caricature of the blacks titled Jump Jim Crow performed by Thomas D. Rice, a white actor who did the act in blackface. It first came out in 1832 to mock the democratic policies of then US President Andrew Jackson. Because Rice was famous, the caricature he did became popular. By 1838, the name turned into a derogatory nickname for African Americans. Calling a person Jim Crow was similar to calling him a Negro.
- At the end of the 19th century, when southern states passed laws of racial segregation aimed against blacks, these laws were collectively called the Jim Crow Laws.
- Jim Crow became the personification of the system that encouraged racial oppression and segregation within the United States, a system that was allowed and approved by the government.
- The phrase Jim Crow Law was used as early as 1892. One of the first publications to use the phrase was New York Times. It appeared in the title of an article about voting laws in the South.
- The Jim Crow Laws enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States [former Confederate States of America] as mandated by policies approved by state legislature. This is termed de jure racial segregation.
- In the North, de facto racial segregation happened. De facto means there were no laws that mandated it but racial segregation between White Americans and Black Americans was practiced usually in private dealings, bank lending practices and even in jobs.
- While racial segregation started between European Americans and African Americans, it eventually spread out to include other ethnicities and nationalities.
- During the Reconstruction Era, federal laws protected the civil rights of the freedmen – former Black American slaves and former free Blacks – in the south, in states that were part of the Confederate.
- But when the 1870s rolled in, the Democrats slowly regained power in the legislatures by employing rebellious paramilitary groups like the Red Shirts, White League and even the Ku Klux Klan [KKK].
- After the Democrats gained power, they put into place the Jim Crow Laws which officially separated the Black Americans from the white population.
- The laws mandated segregation in public places like restrooms, transportation, schools and restaurants among many others. The Jim Crow Laws also made it difficult for the blacks to exercise their right to vote.
- Segregation means there are restaurants that are for “blacks only” and ones where only white customers are allowed. In public transport, African Americans were given different tickets from their white counterparts and had to wait in a different waiting room as well. Schools, public libraries and the likes work the same — there were separate facilities for both the blacks and the white. And most often, the facilities for European Americans [the whites] were better and more superior compared to those available for the African Americans. There were even times that facilities for the latter were non-existent.
- After WWII ended, African Americans increasingly questioned and challenged racial segregation believing that they more than earned full citizenship in the country due to the services and sacrifices they made during the war and that it was just fair that they be treated as fully Americans with all the rights and privileges afforded a citizen.
- This move was called the Civil Rights Movement. It was fuelled by many events including the blinding of Isaac Woodard in 1946 while he was still in his US Army uniform.
Some Examples of Jim Crow Laws
- “All railroads carrying passengers in the state (other than street railroads) shall provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races, by providing two or more passenger cars for each passenger train, or by dividing the cars by a partition, so as to secure separate accommodations.”
- “Marriages are void when one party is a white person and the other is possessed of one-eighth or more negro, Japanese, or Chinese blood.”
- “Separate free schools shall be established for the education of children of African descent; and it shall be unlawful for any colored child to attend any white school, or any white child to attend a colored school.”
- The eventual end of the Jim Crow Laws came when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were mandated and followed.
Interesting Facts about Jim Crow Laws
- The US Army was not safe from segregation. It remained so until 1948. Then US President Harry Truman was the one who desegregated the army through Executive Order 9981.
- The Great Migration was the result of heavy segregation in the south. Some 6 million colored Black Americans relocated to the north and west just so they could get away from the heavy Jim Crow Laws implemented in the southern states of the country.
- The phrase separate but equal was commonly used to justify the Jim Crow Laws.
- Not all Jim Crow Laws focused on African Americans. Some dealt with other nationalities like one California law made selling alcohol to Indians illegal.
- There’s a museum dedicated to showing memorabilia connected with racial segregation or racial stereotyping especially with African Americans for the purpose of education and academic research. This is the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia and is located in Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan.
- The Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally ended all Jim Crow Laws. It was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, America’s 36th president.
Jim Crow Laws Worksheets
This bundle contains 11 ready-to-use Jim Crow Laws Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Jim Crow which were state and locals laws used to enforce racial segregation in the southern states of the country [Southern United States]. These laws were enacted during the Reconstruction Era [Period] and continued on until 1965. The laws affected the lives of millions.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Jim Crow Laws Facts
- Jim Crow Laws Word Search
- Fact or Bluff
- Picture Analysis
- Identify the Place
- Complete the Chart
- My Perspective
- Past and Present
- Cause and Effect
- Jim Crow Laws Acrostic
- Racial Segregation in Popular Culture
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Link will appear as Jim Crow (Laws) Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 12, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.