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How The Jim Crow Era Affected Africa American Culture

Plan of Investigation
The plan of investigation is to tell what extent the Jim Crow era affected African American lifestyle. In order to evaluate the significance, the investigation evaluates the severity of the laws. The impact of the era will be explained and so will the outcomes that came after the era ended. The investigation evaluates how African American lives were altered from the events that took place at the time.

The Jim Crow era was said to be an era of a series of rigid anti-Black laws and a way of life. The plan is to access whether this extent is true or was it in some form an over exaggeration.

Summary of the evidence
• The term Jim Crow is believed to have originated around 1830 when a white, minstrel show performer, Thomas Rice, blackened his face with charcoal paste and danced a ridiculous jig while singing the lyrics to the song, “Jump Jim Crow.”
• From 1889 to 1930, over 3,700 men and women were reported lynched in the United States and most were southern blacks. Hundreds of other lynching’s and acts of mob terror aimed at brutalizing blacks occurred throughout the era but went unreported in the press.
• The Jim Crow segregation laws gained significant encouragement from U. S. Supreme Court rulings in the last two decades of the nineteenth century.
• The Plessy case created a major obstacle to equal rights for blacks, which started a long series of Court decisions that undermined civil rights for African Americans beginning in the 1870s, most known were the Slaughterhouse Cases, United States v. Reese, United States v. Cruikshank, and the Civil Rights Cases of 1883.
• Violence and terrorism swept over the South in the 1860s and 1870s (the Ku Klux Klan and Knights of the White Camellia), as organized bands of white vigilantes terrorized black voters who supported Republican candidates as well as many African Americans who defied the “color line” inherited from the slave era.
• In Mississippi, the method of controlling black votes and regulating their economic and public lives by brutal violence was known as the First Mississippi Plan of 1875. Whites openly resorted to violence and fraud to control the black vote, shooting down black voters “just like birds.” This ruthless and bloody revolution devastated the black vote in Mississippi, and fully 66% of the blacks registered to vote in the state failed to cast ballots in the presidential election of 1880.
• The Enforcement Acts of 1870 and 1871 effectively eliminated the most organized forms of white terrorism in the 1870s, but did little to assist the formerly enslaved in gaining economic security. Most southern blacks had become penniless agricultural workers indebted to and controlled by white landlords and merchant suppliers.
• Southern blacks tried to avoid engaging whites as much as possible. These efforts at separating themselves from whites meant developing their own schools and community-based support groups as much as possible.
• By 1905, the issue of how to most effectively deal with Jim Crow came to a head in the debate between the followers of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. Washington, who was born in slavery, believed that accepting segregation for the time being and working hard at farming and in community-based support groups would best enable southern blacks to avoid the violence and terror all around them.
• Thousands of blacks had left for Kansas and Oklahoma in the 1880s and the 1890s. The movement to Kansas became known as the “Kansas Exodus,”
• In the cities of the North, the NAACP and the National Urban League, both interracial groups, worked to integrate blacks into the economic mainstream of American life.
• With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, legalized segregation and the disfranchisement of African Americans was finally ended. It had taken almost one hundred years of resistance to terror and discrimination to achieve what had been promised to African Americans at the end of the Civil War.

Evaluation of sources
Through the investigation my primary sources of “History of Jim Crow” and “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow” provided numerous amounts evidence to the plan of investigation. The “History of Jim Crow” by Ronald Davis has several purposes which tell the different stages of the era. How it started to how it ended. It provides the geographic locations of where the laws took place and the American literature that was expired from the time. The source played a significant role in answering the question. It gave more evidence that the era was less of an impact compared to the other primary source. It gave a general idea of how African American lives where affected. The source gave numerous amounts of what happened during the time, but not so much of how their lifestyles’ were changed. The purpose of “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow” produced by WNET was to give first person accounts and biographies of the era.

It serves to tell more of how people had to alter their lives to live in the time. The source has more details to what African Americans changed during their day to fit in. It helped by explaining day to day activities that many people did along with how they spent their spare time. Both of the sources explained what happened during the time period, but “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow” gives more evidence that the extent of the affect was large. They explain some hardships of the era as well.

Jim Crow was not just a set of anti-black segregation laws though but was a way of life. It was a racial hate system that ran mainly in southern states of America in between 1877 and the middle of the 1960’s. Jim Crow laws affected every aspect of normality. For example, in Birmingham, Alabama it was made illegal for black people and white people to play checkers or dominoes together. Jim Crow signs were posted on water fountains, toilets, and entrances. There where separate schools, hospitals, prisons and cemeteries for black and white people. For example Homer A Plessy was seven eights white and one eighth black; however he was seen as a black person and was arrested, in Louisiana under Jim Crow Laws for sitting in a white only railroad coach. He was trailed and his lawyer augured that you cannot have the right to label one citizen as white and one as black for the purposes of restricting rights and privileges. The court upheld the law saying that racial segregation did not mean there was no equality. The case sent the message to Southern states that discrimination against blacks was acceptable. This investigation shows how African Americans had to act differently to live what they would call a normal life. It shows how much the era affected what blacks got to do and how they processed things. It tells of the hardships blacks had to endure. African Americans had to make decisions based on ways to not get attacked or ridiculed. The rise of the Ku Klux clan brought fear in African Americans eyes. The thought of being lunched made most blacks stay indoors or not travel to far from home due to the fear of dying. Court cases as U.S. vs. Reese caused for some African Americans to give up on the fight for rights because they couldn’t even win in the law system. The case took away the 15th amendment which gave African Americans the right to vote. The Jim Crow era changed African American lifestyle forever. From the evidence The Mississippi plan, black codes, etc. had a huge extent on their lifestyles. Many blacks were registered to vote, but didn’t. Many of them left their life in the south and moved north in hopes of having a more equally way of living. Living through the Jim Crow era gave African Americans strength and motivation to fight for more equal rights. The NAACP was partly created to help African Americans cope with Jim Crow and it gave them many opportunities for a better life. After the long journey through Jim Crow African Americans were able to triumph with laws being passed such as the civil rights act and the voting rights act to start being seen as equals. The evidence explains how African American lifestyle was changed dramatically over the era. From living in fear, to trying to cope with all the hardships, then finally to overcoming and fighting back.

Based on the investigation the Jim Crow era had a huge impact on African American lifestyle. The “History of Jim Crow” source explained the different stages of the era which was creating, surviving, and resisting Jim Crow. From the laws after the era African Americans were able to overcome the segregation and fight for equal rights. “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow explained the hardships and gave first accounts of the era. From the two primary sources African Americans had to withstand the long period of living in fear to overcoming it after many years. The era was a big extent. African Americans had to go through little changes such as not using white bathrooms to large changes such as moving north in search of a better life. The evidence explains how African American lifestyle was changed dramatically over the era; from living in fear, to trying to cope with all the hardships. The changes had to occur so African Americans could eventually have equal rights.

New York Life. (2000, march 4). The History of Jim Crow. Retrieved march 20, 2009, from
PBS. (2002, May 18). Rise and Fall of Jim Crow. Retrieved march 20, 2009, from The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow:

Anderson, James. The Education of Blacks in the South, 1880-1935. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1988.
Ayers, Edward L. The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992
Memorabilia, M. o. (2000, September 12). What was Jim Crow? Retrieved March 16, 2009, from Jim Crow:
Toll, Robert C. Blacking Up: The Minstrel Show in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974
W.E.B. Du Bois, Frontline: The Two Nations of Black America