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A Resolution For Change: Being Black In The South In The 50's And 60's

1816 words - 8 pages

A black man goes about his everyday life, living in the South. He walks on by a group of white teenagers beating and kicking a lone black teen. He walks on past a group of KKK members marching along the streets, shouting out their hate speeches while wearing their white ghost costumes. He walked toward his favorite restaurant, eager for a meal; however, he made a mistake of heading into the wrong store, the white store. He walks on in, and then freezes, chills going down his spine, as he feels the glares of all the white folks in the store. A white policeman stood up, walked towards the man with a sinister smile. The black man began to feel his heartbeat pounding. Each step the policeman took, another heartbeat explodes within the man’s chest. The black man kept telling himself, “MOVE!” But the man was frozen with a fear that sapped away all his strength. The policeman took out his baton, and then the black man closed his eyes and cried out quietly to himself, “Oh Lord…” This was the everyday life of a black man living under Jim Crow. The era revealed just how cruel people can be against one another. There were strict rules, extreme violence, and absolute power to whites, but there was also a resistance to the authority that ruled with an iron fist.
Those that lived in the South lived in a society where all abided by the rules known as the Jim Crow Laws. These rules touched every aspect of everyday life. Everything was separate between blacks and whites, but also “equal”. All of these rules became legalized and enforced after the Plessy v. Ferguson case showed that discrimination was legal as long as both had equal access to anything that were of equal quality. Unfortunately, the problem was that most of the time the quality of things were never equal as practically everything favored the whites. Furthermore, those in the South followed the Jim Crow Etiquette. These were rules that blacks had to follow when interacting with any white person with the purpose of keeping blacks at the bottom of the racial hierarchy. The following Jim Crow etiquette rules show just how much these rules affected society:
1. A black male was not allowed to shake hands with a white male because it implied being socially equal. Also, a black man could not offer his hand to a white woman, because he risked being accused of rape.
2. Blacks and whites are not supposed to eat together; however, if they did, then whites were served first and something was placed between them.
3. Blacks were not allowed to show public intimacy because it offended whites.
4. Blacks were introduced to whites, never whites to blacks.
5. Whites did not use courtesy titles when referring to blacks such as, Mr., Mrs., Sir, or Ma’am. Instead, they were called by their first names. On the contrary, blacks had to use courtesy titles when referring to whites and not their first names.
6. A black person sat in the back seat if they rode in a car driven by a white person.
7. White motorists had the...

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