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The Jim Crow Laws; Separation Can Be Harmful

1356 words - 5 pages

For many years, African Americans were abused by Caucasians in the United States of America. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Americans were taking advantage of the continent of Africa by bringing the people who lived there on ships in poor condition and forcing them to work for very little to no pay. Huge ships were sent to the continent and rounded up thousands of African Americans and shipped them to be sold and work for the rest of their lives as slaves. African Americans were abused by their owners and were shown little or no respect. When the thirteenth amendment was written, many African Americans believed they would freely live. However, in response, a set of laws were written that prohibited African Americans from living freely. The Jim Crow laws that were put into affect about ten years after the Civil War impacted African American's social and political freedoms.
The racial segregation laws, the Jim Crow Laws, began to be enforced in 1876. One may ask, “What are the Jim Crow Laws?” David Pilgrim, Professor of Sociology at Ferris State University Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia answers this popular question perfectly;
“Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second class citizens. Jim Crow represented the legitimization of anti-black racism. Many Christian ministers and theologians taught that whites were the Chosen people, blacks were cursed to be servants, and God supported racial segregation.”
In other words, the Jim Crow Laws were more than just a set of laws, they were a way of life that treated African Americans as second class humans (Pilgrim 1). These laws mainly impacted southern and border states. Many people thought different things about Jim Crow. African-Americans, the people effected by it the most, obviously disagreed with them; but they were forced to go along with it (1). Most Caucasians believed that these laws were right, especially those in the South. Because of this, many African American's lives were miserable.
The Jim Crow Laws impacted the social freedoms of African Americans. Caucasians and African-Americans could not interact as strangers or friends. Blacks were not called by courtesy titles (Mr. Mrs. etc) but instead called by their first names (2). They, however, had to refer to whites with courtesy titles. Newspaper authors and journalists often referred to African Americans by racist terms and showed them no respect. An African American could only be introduced to a Caucasian, a Caucasian could not be introduced to an African American. A black male could not shake hands with a white male or white female. If an African-American shook hands with a Caucasian male, it would show social equality, and if he did it with a Caucasian female, he could be accused of rape. A black male could not shake hands with a white male or white female; with a Caucasian male, it would show social equality; and if he were to shake hands with a Caucasian female, he could be...

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