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Apartheid In Mississippi After The Civil War

673 words - 3 pages

As the world lays Nelson “Madiba” Mandela to rest, one cannot help thinking about the oppressive system of Apartheid in South Africa and its American counterpart of segregation in the South. Segregation was America’s Apartheid. Nowhere was it practiced with such harshness as in Mississippi. After the Civil War and the failure of Reconstruction, Mississippi and the other Southern states were allowed to establish Black Codes which restricted the freedoms and liberties of African-Americans in the South. This group of laws included restrictions on things like “curfews, vagrancy, labor contracts, women’s rights, and land restrictions” (NLR -United States Part A , 7). Jim Crow Laws followed where the Black Codes left off. Poll taxes and literacy tests kept African-Americans from voting. Often violence was used to enforce segregation and White rule in Mississippi with hundreds of African-Americans dying do to lynching and other aggression. African-Americans fought for many decades in Mississippi to end segregation and attain equal rights in the South with martyrs like Medgar Evers leading the charge. The battle would rage on costing other lives as well until it grew to a climax that played out on the national stage as the world watched the evils of segregation on live t.v. with things like police dogs and fire hoses put on peaceful demonstrators.
Reconstruction in Mississippi lasted only about ten years after which the state was allowed to do whatever it pleased with respect to its former slave population. President Johns, a former slave owner himself paved the way by pardoning the South and looking the other way. Mississippi was the first state to establish Black Codes which restricted African-American’s “right to own property, conduct business, buy and lease land, and move freely through public spaces” ( Wikipedia: Black Codes (United States)). The vagrancy laws were a key part of the Black Codes. Jim Crow Laws followed the Black Codes and were even stricter in some senses. Separate facilities for Blacks and Whites became the law in Mississippi: separate dining...

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