In 1931, nine black teens riding a freight train north toward Memphis, Tennessee, were arrested after being falsely accused of raping two white women. After nearly being lynched, they were brought to trial in Scottsboro, Alabama.
Despite evidence that exonerated the teens, including a retraction by one of their accusers, the state pursued the case. All-white juries delivered guilty verdicts and all nine defendants, except the youngest, were sentenced to death. From 1931 to 1937, during a series of appeals and new trials, they languished in Alabama's Kilby prison, where they were repeatedly brutalized by guards.
In 1932, the United States Supreme Court concluded in Powell v. Alabama that the Scottsboro defendants had been denied adequate counsel at trial. In 1935, the Court in Norris v. Alabama again ruled in favor of the defendants, overturning their convictions because Alabama had systematically excluded black people from jury service.
Finally, in 1937, four of the defendants were released and five were given sentences from twenty years to life; four of those were released on parole between 1943 and 1950. The fifth escaped prison in 1948 and fled to Michigan. Clarence Norris walked out of Kilby Prison after being paroled in 1946 and moved north; he received a full pardon from Governor George Wallace in 1976.
Black People were unfairly compensated during the Jim Crow era, when compared to White people who had the same jobs. Black Women were also often pressured to work, because the husband often would not make enough to support the family, and employment increased for Black People
Denying Black men the right to wrote through legal maneuvering and violence was a first step in taking away their civil rights. Beginning in the 1890's, southern states enacted literacy tests, poll taxes, elaborate registration systems, and eventually whites-only Democratic Party primaries to exclude voters. The laws proved very effective. In Mississippi, fewer than 9,000 of the 147,000 voting age African Americans were registered after 1890. In Louisiana, where more than 130,000 black voters had been registered in 1896, the number had plummeted to 1,342 by 1904.
This songbook, published in Ithaca, New York, in 1839, shows an early depiction of minstrel-show character named Jim Crow. By the 1890's the expression "Jim Crow" was being used to describe laws and customs aimed at segregating African Americans and others. These laws were intended to restrict social contact between whites and other groups and to limit the freedom and opportunity of people of color
Insulting racial stereotypes were common in American society. They reinforced discrimantory customs and laws that oppressed Americans of many racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds. The cigarette holder and early 20th-century advertising cards depict common stereotypes of African Americans, Chinese Americans, Jews, and Irish Americans.