People who had a criminal record could not vote, many blacks had gone to prison and labeled a criminal for very minor things that whites wouldn't even have to serve time for. This was another way of preventing blacks from voting
The economy of the Southern States during the era of Jim Crow was primarily based on agriculture. While the majority of Southern blacks worked in agriculture as sharecroppers and tenant farmers, others sought work in the cities of the South and North, including a small but influential black middle class
Blacks were not being hired really anywhere, the only jobs they could get did not pay a lot. They were set up to fail.
According to the 1900 United States Census, the majority of the African Americans in Berks County had occupations such as day laborers, hod carriers, servants, hotel waiters, barbers, furnace workers, domestics, stablemen, hotel cooks/chefs, bootblacks, farmers/farm workers, porters, hairdressers, laundresses, hostlers, dressmakers, butlers, bricklayers, plasterers, railroad depot janitors, messengers, coachmen, stone masons, firemen, and cigar makers.