Large-Scale State

Yüklə 320.33 Kb.
ölçüsü320.33 Kb.
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   ...   24

Conditions in the South

Following a ruling in the 1890s by the Supreme Court, many states in the South began to rewrite their constitutions by excluding Blacks from the political process. Measures included:

  • Segregation

  • Denying Blacks the right to vote – in Alabama in 1900, 180,000 Blacks were eligible to vote. In 1902 the number was only 3,000

  • Violence and terror. Lynching became common.

Microsoft clipart © 2006 Microsoft Corporation

Separate but equal

The treatment of Black people in America was difficult due to a decision of the Supreme Court. In 1892 a Black man called Homer Plessey, who lived in the Southern state of Louisiana, sat on a railway seat reserved for White people. He was asked to move to the black section of the train. He refused and was arrested. Eventually the case went to the Supreme Court where Plessey argued that the State of Louisiana had broken the 14th Amendment that said that black people should have full civil liberties which included their right to freedom and should be treated by law in the same way as Whites. However, the Supreme Court reached a decision that was to affect race relations in the USA for the next 60 years. The Supreme Court agreed that the 14th Amendment was to make sure that Blacks were treated by law in the same way as Whites but the Supreme Court said “Laws which keep the races apart do not mean that one race is better or worse than the other.”

In other words it was perfectly acceptable for Black and White people to be kept separate as long as equal facilities were provided for each race. The decision of the Supreme Court was called ‘the separate but equal’ decision.

What were the Jim Crow laws?

The name given to all laws that were intended to keep Blacks and Whites separate was the ‘Jim Crow’ laws. They were named after a white stage performer called Jim Crow who used to dress up as a black man and make a fool of black people by showing them as stupid, lazy and unreliable. Southern State Governments could produce any Jim Crow law they wanted. For example, such laws ordered that there should be separate seating on railway trains, waiting rooms at railway stations, buses, schools, churches, wards in hospitals and public fountains and even separate cemeteries.

Source B: Editor of The Charleston News, 1890s
If there must be Jim Crow railway carriages then there should be Jim Crow trams on the streets…also on passenger boats. There should be Jim Crow waiting rooms at the stations and Jim Crow eating places…In courts there should be Jim Crow sections in the jury boxes and a separate Jim Crow witness stand and even a Jim Crow Bible for coloured witnesses to kiss.
But a few months later the same editor wrote another article in the newspaper.
What I obviously thought was stupid and ridiculous in a short space of time became reality. All the things I thought were so outrageous have now been accepted as normal – even the Jim Crow Bible! What was insanity is now sane!

In the 1920s racial tension increased and the State Governments further extended the Jim Crow laws:

  • South Carolina passed legislation that made it illegal for Black and White textile workers to use the same doorways, bathrooms or canteens. Many cities passed laws prohibiting Blacks from using public parks.

  • In 1926, Atlanta banned Black barbers from cutting the hair of White women and children

  • Segregation was entering into all parts of life. Segregation was inevitably backed up by the use of force.

  • To vote in the Southern states you had to register. There were a number of means of preventing Blacks from registering, i.e. a poll tax stopped many Blacks because they were so poor. Literacy tests were also used as a means of discrimination.

Segregation had become more respectable in the USA. This did not change until 1954. In 1916 Black protestors complained to President Woodrow Wilson about the segregation of toilets and eating facilities in Federal Government offices, and that Jim Crow laws being used to make sure that Black men only received the lowest paid jobs. The President said, “Segregation is not humiliating and is a benefit for you black gentlemen.” The Federal Government had no power to stop individual states passing Jim Crow laws.

Lack of political influence

As early as 1867 Black who men had once been slaves were allowed to vote. By 1900 the Southern states had managed to stop Blacks from voting so that they could not elect anyone who might oppose the Jim Crow laws. How did the states manage to stop the Black people from voting?
The Southern states could not ban Blacks from voting just because they were Black. In order to vote in the USA a person had to register. The Southern states made up a series of rules called voting qualifications that made it difficult for blacks to vote. For example, one state made a qualification rule that an adult man could vote only if his grandfather had voted before 1867. One state asked questions such as ‘How many bubbles are in a bar of soap?’ which had to be answered ‘to the satisfaction’ of the questioner.

Source C: A member of the Government of the State of Virginia, 1900

We are here to do all we can to stop as many Negro voters as we can from voting. We will try to do it legally. We will not harm the right of White people to vote.

The result was that most White men in the South could vote and most Black men could not. It also meant that Black men who previously could vote lost that right.



Number of Blacks with the right to vote











1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   ...   24

Verilənlər bazası müəlliflik hüququ ilə müdafiə olunur © 2016
rəhbərliyinə müraciət

    Ana səhifə