Jim Crow Bradley Blasberg


Grandfather Clause

The Grandfather Clause was a Clause which was first created by Louisiana in 1898. It said that those who were able to vote before 1867 and those whose father or grandfather could vote before 1867 could skip the taxes and tests. This was very unfair because 1867 was the year in which the Reconstruction Act ordered Universal man suffrage and no black males were able to vote before then. Other states to also uses this law were North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Virginia.

Literary Tests

Literary tests were tests that people would have to take in order to be able to vote. You would take these literary test to prove you had at least a fifth grade education. You had 10 minutes to complete the test and had to get all 30 questions right. These tests were unfair and were almost impossible to pass if you were black. They featured many questions like “Name the attorney general of the United States” and “Can you be imprisoned, under Alabama law, for a debt?". These questions were very unfair because you would only be able to answer these questions if you were white and you paid attention to certain things. Also because of the Grandfather clause, whites did not have to take the tests anyways.


Lynching was a way that the whites would control black people and prevent them from doing anything to crazy. White people would lynch black people if they did anything wrong. Lynching is when a white mob comes and kills a black person for doing something wrong. Normally when a person was lynched, they would be hung. Black people could be lynched for anything from looking at a white woman wrong to not giving a white person the whole sidewalk. The people who lynched the black person would almost always get away with it because of political power. The lawyers would tell the people of the jury to do their duty to their race. One example of this is the death of 14 year old Emmett Till. Emmett Till was lynched for whistling at at the owner of a grocery store. He was brutally beaten and shot in the head, then they attached a metal fan for grinding cotton to his neck and threw him in the river. The kidnappers were decided not guilty by the jurors and they even commented that it was an easy decision


Sharecropping is when black families would rent a portion of a white man's land to work themselves. In return for their land, the black people would give the white person a portion of their crop. At the end of the harvest system, the landlord and the tenant would come together and decide who owed whom and how much. This system had many flaws and most the time was unfair towards the blacks. Often the tenant ended up in debt because of renting the equipment and seed

Landlords Stealing from Tenants

One of the major problems with sharecropping was even if the tenant had some money coming his way and had made a good amount of money that year, the landlord could just steal it and say he was not owed any money. One example of this happening occurs in the story of Thomas Chatman. Thomas and his father had worked all year selling turpentine and had made a good amount of money. They were planning to use the money they made from this to get the other children clothing and help Thomas continue his education. Thomas kept of the records of their dealings with the landlord in his book to prove the money they were owed. But when they went to get the money there were owed, the landlord stayed they had no money coming their way


During the Jim Crow era, it was very hard for African Americans to find a job. It was especially hard during the Great Depression when people rallied around phrases like "No jobs for N***** until all whites get a job". Even if an African American did get a job, they would still be paid much less than a white person. On average, they would be paid 100-400 dollars less than the white person. Also in the year 1943-44 out of all the complaints to the FEPC about race, 96.7 percent of the people complaining were black.

Segregation and the limitations of African Americans in society

There was great segregation against African Americans during the Jim Crow era. For example, Many places during the Jim Crow era would be for whites only. Almost everything in the Jim Crow era was separate, there were separate schools and churches, separate bathrooms, and separate parts of the restaurant where each race would eat. They even had to sit in separate parts of the bus. While on the bus, white people could tell a black person to move further to the back of the bus because they wanted their seat.


During the Jim Crow era, white actors would wear black makeup and act very silly to make fun of blacks. This started in 1830 when white actor, Thomas Rice blackened his face and then danced a jig while singing the lyrics of the song "Jump, Jim Crow".The next act was called Zip Coon and was first performed in 1834 by George Mason. Zip Coon was made to make fun of free blacks and their attempts to act dignified. During black minstrel shows, white actors they would wear black makeup made up of black grease paint, they would paint their lips white.

Racist Caricatures Against Blacks

During the Jim Crow era, there were many racist caricatures against blacks. These were used as propaganda that legitimized violence against them. They created many famous caricatures like Aunt Jemima, who was used to sell their pancake mix. There was even a chain of restaurants called Coon Chicken Inn who had an entrance that featured the face of a winking caricatured black man wearing a porter's cap

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