English 10 Honors
11 April 2014
Jim Crow South
Racism was prominent in the Colonial seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Racism is the belief that the physical characteristics of a person determine the capabilities in which that individual is best fit to do. Race was the foundation of all slavery and eventually led to what would be known as the Jim Crow Laws. At this time, the North and South expressed different opinions on slavery and superiority between races. The constant struggle for equality among African Americans was battled out in the American Civil War (1861-1865). Slavery was a pitfall that followed African Americans until 1865 when the ...view middle of the document...
The term “Jim Crow” comes from a racist fictional character from the 1800s. The character was played by a white man who painted his face like a colored man (“Plessy V. Ferguson”). These laws, in the eyes of the government, were following the phrase “separate but equal”. The races would be segregated, but have equal conditions from everything such as schooling, restrooms, and railway cars. The whole separate but equal plight was a lie among the people. These laws not only began to segregate the races, but gave one man by the name of Homer Plessy an idea. Homer Plessy decided to challenge the newly passes Jim Crow laws directly on June 7, 1892. He bought a train ticket to Covington, Louisiana on the East Louisiana Railroad. After boarding the train he selected a seat in the whites-only car. Although Plessy was seven-eighths white he was considered an African American in the eyes of the law (“Plessy v. Ferguson Upholds”). When asked to move to the car for the African Americans, Plessy refused and was immediately was arrested. Plessy had wanted to get arrested to test the constitutionality of segregation laws in Louisiana regarding separate railway cars (“Plessy v. Ferguson Upholds”). The lawyer of Plessy argued that the law denied his equality under the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. When taken to court on May 18, 1896 the Supreme Court issued the ruling on the Plessy v. Ferguson case. The case was named after the judge, John Howard Ferguson (“Plessy v. Ferguson Upholds”). The court rejected Plessy’s arguments in a seven-to-one decision. The only judge to vote against the major ruling was John Marshall Harlan (“Plessy v. Ferguson Upholds). Harlan stated: “Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.” (“Plessy v. ferguson Upholds”). The ruling of the supreme court defended the rights of Southern states to further enforce the Jim Crow Laws. After the case, several states passed laws regarding segregated hospitals, schools, and public parks. Southern states passed laws that chiseled away at the freedoms of African Americans which were lawfully granted under the Constitutional Amendments. The state of Alabama passed a law declaring that a white female nurse may not work in an area where an African American man is located. This state also passed a law stating that separate restroom facilities are required for Whites, and African Americans. The state of Arizona passed a law in which a White individual may not marry an African American. The...