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The Strange Career of Jim Crow

Jim Crow entails the laws that were utilized to perpetrate segregation of races in the United States, particularly in the South. The laws were used to maintain all forms of racial segregation in the south after the Reconstruction period. Moreover, the laws were maintained until the middle of the 20th century. Although Jim Crow was eliminated during the 20th century, its advent had far-reaching impacts on racial relations in the US.

Meanwhile, after the civil war, reconstruction occurred in the country allowing few constitutional amendments. Most notably, equal rights were included in the constitution providing an opportunity for the ‘blacks’ to be treated as equal citizens in the nation. Slavery was prohibited in the country giving all citizens equal rights as well as protection. This occurrence was attributed to the Republican forces who had established authority in the south. During this period, the African Americans seized educational and other political opportunities that emerged after both the Fifteenth and Fourteenth Constitutional Amendments. Furthermore, they grabbed economic opportunities to develop themselves within the American society. As a result, several African-Americans served in various leadership capacities in the south including in the senate and school boards among others.

However, after the end of the radicalized reconstruction, the federal government started to withdraw its troops from the south giving the democrats an opportunity to reestablish their rule in the region. They began by dismantling all the previous polices that had given the African Americans various political, economic, and educational opportunities. Southern law-makers, religious leaders, and businesspeople among other leaders cooperated to resurrect all forms of racial segregation. Laws were established to segregate the southern society into racial blocks, with the ‘blacks’ considered inferior to the other races. The laws were referred to as Jim Crow, which forcefully separated the ‘blacks’ from the ‘whites’ in the region. For that reason, another reconstruction occurred with a few institutions being desegregated such as public schools and the military. On the other extreme, some southerners fought back through both political and violence means. This called for intervention from the federal government.

The enactment of both the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1964 Civil Rights Act eliminated Jim Crow. The African-Americans were given voting rights and other equal opportunities in the country to develop themselves in education, politics, and the economy. Although Jim Crow was eradicated, it contributed to the racial tensions that have always been witnessed in the nation.


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