window upon completion of article
JIM CROW LAWS Lincoln's
Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 officially made slaves free, and the
13th, 14th and 15th amendments
were ratified to give ex-slaves the right to vote and have full suffrage,
but the battle against racism was just beginning.
Starting in the 1880s states throughout the South passed
legislation economically favoring European Americans. These laws essentially
designated a huge, controllable labor force effectively preventing citizens with too much pigment in their skin, mostly African Americans, from improving their status or achieving economic
and social equality. African Americans in the roles of laborers and
servants was the socially sanctioned economic interaction between the
two groups with 90% of African Americans in Atlanta serving in this
capacity during the first part of the 20th century..
|Ponce DeLeon Park in Atlanta with sign "colored
people admitted as servants only".
This legal system was a major factor in the formation
of the many Sweet Auburn Avenue buildings. Office space was needed and professional buildings were constructed for doctors, bankers,
pharmacists, lawyers, accountants, contractors and other black professionals
arising from the nearby black university system to serve an increasingly sophisticated, educated population.
These statutes, which together were known as Jim Crow
(so called after a black
character in minstrel shows, also recalled in "Uncle Tom's
Cabin"), were in place and enforced in full from the early part
of 1900 until the 1950s and 60s. At this time, not surprisingly, it
became economically advantageous for the South to rid itself of these
laws as times changed with the 1954
Brown. v. the Board of Education Supreme Court decision.
The following is a sampling of Jim Crow, grouped by
Florida: The schools for
white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted
Kentucky: The children of white and colored races committed to
reform schools shall be kept entirely separate from each other.
Mississippi: Separate schools shall be maintained for the children
of the white and colored races.
Mississippi: 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.
New Mexico: Separate rooms shall be provided for the teaching
of pupils of African descent, and such pupils may not be admitted to
the school rooms occupied and used by pupils of Caucasian or other descent.
North Carolina: School textbooks shall not be interchangeable
between the white and colored schools, but shall continue to be used
by the race first using them.
Alabama: It shall be unlawful
to conduct a restaurant or other place for the serving of food in the
city, at which white and colored people are served in the same room,
unless such white and colored persons are effectually separated by a
solid partition extending from the floor upward to a distance of seven
feet or higher, and unless a separate entrance from the street is provided.
Alabama: It shall be unlawful for a negro and white person to
play together or in company with each other at any game of pool or billiards.
Alabama: Every employer of white or negro males shall provide for such
white or negro males reasonably accessible and separate toilet facilities.
Georgia: All persons licensed to conduct a restaurant, shall
serve either white people exclusively or colored people exclusively
and shall not sell to the two races within the same room or under the
Georgia: It shall be unlawful for any amateur white baseball
team to play on any vacant lot or baseball diamond within two blocks
of a playground devoted to the Negro race, and it shall be unlawful
for any amateur colored baseball team to play baseball within two blocks
of any playground devoted to the white race.
Georgia: All persons licensed to conduct the business of selling
beer or wine...shall serve either white people exclusively or colored
people exclusively and shall not sell to the two races within the same
room at any time.
Louisiana: All circuses, shows, and tent exhibitions, to which
the attendance of more than one race is invited, shall provide not less
than two ticket offices and not less than two entrances.
Virginia: Any public hall, theatre, opera house, motion picture show
or place of public entertainment which is attended by both white and
colored persons shall separate the white race and the colored race.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Mississippi: Any person
guilty of printing, publishing or circulating matter urging or presenting
arguments in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between whites
and negroes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Alabama: No person or corporation
shall require any white female nurse to nurse in wards or rooms in hospitals,
either public or private, in which negro men are placed.
Louisiana: The board of trustees shall maintain a separate building,
on separate grounds, for the admission, care, instruction, and support
of all blind persons of the colored or black race.
Mississippi: There shall be maintained by the governing authorities
of every hospital maintained by the state for treatment of white and
colored patients separate entrances for white and colored patients and
visitors, and such entrances shall be used by the race only for which
they are prepared.
Louisiana: Any person...who
shall rent any part of any such building to a negro person or a negro
family when such building is already in whole or in part in occupancy
by a white person or white family shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Mississippi: The prison warden shall see that the white convicts
shall have separate apartments for both eating and sleeping from the
Texas: Negroes are to be
served through a separate branch or branches of the county free library,
which shall be administered by a custodian of the negro race under the
supervision of the county librarian.
North Carolina: The state librarian is directed to fit up and
maintain a separate place for the use of the colored people who may
come to the library for the purpose of reading books or periodicals.
Arizona: The marriage of
a person of Caucasian blood with a Negro shall be null and void.
Florida: All marriages between a white person and a negro, or
between a white person and a person of negro descent to the fourth generation
inclusive, are hereby forever prohibited.
Florida: Any negro man and white woman, or any white man and
negro woman, who are not married to each other, who habitually live
in and occupy in the nighttime the same room, shall each be punished
by imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or by fine not exceeding five
Maryland: All marriages between a white person and a negro, or
between a white person and a person of negro descent, to the third generation,
are forever prohibited, and shall be void.
Mississippi: The marriage of a white person with a negro or mulatto
or person who shall have one-eighth or more of negro blood, shall be
unlawful and void.
Wyoming: All marriages of white persons with Negroes, Mulattos,
Mongolians, or Malaya hereafter contracted in the State of Wyoming are,
and shall be, illegal and void.
Georgia: No colored barber
shall serve as a barber to white women or girls.
Georgia: The officer in charge shall not bury, or allow to be
buried, any colored persons upon ground set apart or used for the burial
of white persons.
Alabama: All passenger stations in this state operated
by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms
or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races.
Alabama: The conductor of each passenger train is authorized and required
to assign each passenger to the car or the division of the car, when
it is divided by a partition, designated for the race to which such
passenger belongs. Maryland: All railroad companies are hereby required
to provide separate cars or coaches for the travel and transportation
of the white and colored passengers.
Oklahoma: The baths and
lockers for the negroes shall be separate from the white race, but may
be in the same building. (Mining companies)
These Samples of Jim Crow laws compiled by the National
Park Service, Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site