Jim Crow By Michael DeMinico

Political

1. Grandfather Clause

The Grandfather Clause was a law that prevented blacks from participating in voting. During the Jim Crow era the white population was unhappy that blacks were allowed to participate in votes. The Grandfather Clause allowed people who were African American to vote if they had a grandfather who was able to vote before 1867. Since no African American was able to vote before 1867 the law basically stated that no blacks can participate in a vote. The law was passed in most southern states like Louisiana where it was created in 1898. Other southern states like North Carolina began to follow Louisiana's lead and passed similar laws eliminating the black vote during the Jim Crow era.

2. Literacy Tests

Tests that included questions regarding either English grammar, or questions that regard to the US. The Literacy Test, like the Grandfather Clause, was a way that white people could eliminate the black vote. The way literacy tests worked was that a black man or women would enter the voting area and be asked to take a literacy test. If they passed they would be able to vote, but if not they had to leave. People would rig the reading tests so that the questions were nearly impossible for a black citizen to answer. Also back then black and white schools were segregated and the good teachers and school supplies would go to the white schools while the bad teachers and school supplies went to the black schools.

3. Jim Crow Laws

Jim Crow Laws were passed during the Jim Crow era that were anti black laws. These laws enforced racial segregation like whites and blacks have to go to separate schools. Jim Crow Laws were mostly passed in southern states like Louisiana since that's where most of the segregation happened. A majority of the laws that were passed had to do with white female and black male interactions. White men were afraid that if a white female and black male were interacting it would lead to rape and assault. Other laws like no colored barbershop could serve a white patient singled out blacks since they were supposedly inferior to white. Jim Crow Laws kept whites and blacks separate which was the overall main goal for white people during the Jim Crow era.

Economic

Sharecropping

Sharecropping was a job that was popular after the civil war. Former slaves who tried to find work often worked as sharecroppers. Sharecropping started when there was an absent of cash and independent credit systems which forced people down south to start the business of sharecropping. Sharecropping is when a landlord gives access to their land to somebody trying to grow and sell crops. In return the landlord would get a percentage of the crops grown as payment for the land. Back during Jim Crow many black families were sharecroppers and planted cash crops like tobacco and cotton. Laws back then made it extremely hard for the sharecroppers to sell there crops to anyone, but the tenant which is why most black families were poor and at the bottom of the economic ladder. Families were in debt couldn't afford for their children. One example of sharecropping during the Jim Crow era was when Thomas Chatman's father worked as a sharecropper. Thomas remembers how badly his father wanted to send him to school so Thomas's father worked hard and long hours in the field. One day the white man Thomas's dad rented land from came and took all of his money. Thomas's dad knew if he harmed the white man he could be lynched and killed. The final Thomas remembers from that day was his dad crying for only the second time in his life. Thomas's stuory shows bad it was for black families economic wise during the Jim Crow period.

Salary Wages

During the Jim Crow period white and black men would be paid different wages. There were two main reasons which were school and race that influenced the amount of money you would be paid. When it came to school they were segregated at the time between white only and colored only. Since the Jim Crow period favored the white race they got the better teachers and books since they were supposedly the superior group. The black children however were stuck on the short end with bad teachers and bad books. When kids graduated and started looking for jobs business owners looked for one main thing and that was if you were skilled and smart. Since white kids got the better education they would get the better jobs over the black kids. Depending on who and what you worked for you were given different wages since the white kids got the higher jobs and the black kids got the lower jobs.

Society and Culture

Books and Magazines

Books such as the one pictured were popular during the Jim Crow time since they portrayed black people as savage and animalistic criminals. In the book Beauty Beasts the main character is played by a black caricature that all black men are criminals. The main plot of the story is about a black men who takes advantage of a white women and rapes her. This books makes it seem that all black people are bad and deserved to be lynched. In addition books like this inspired other writers during the Jim Crow era to write books about more black caricatures. Books about smelly and violent black men were soon very popular in southern states. As more books were published the amount of lynchings began to rise as well as the amount of Jim Crow laws regulating the interactions between white females and black males.

Blackface

During the Jim Crow period blackface was one of the most popular types of theatre. It consisted of white actors dressing up and playing the roles of black characters. For the audiences amusement the characters would act like buffoons and idiots since that was what most people thought of blacks at the time. Blackface lasted nearly 100 years and created very racial stereotypes toward black people. Actors would try to cement these racial stereotypes into the minds of the audience. After people would watch the shows they would often treat black people as the people portrayed them in the theatre. Overall blackface was another negative affect on the black population and created many long lasting caricatures.

Jim Crow Etiquette

Jim Crow etiquette were not written laws, but treated as written laws. They were ways and manners that black people were supposed to follow and have during the Jim Crow era. Jim Crow etiquette gave black people virtually no control over what they could say, who they could eat with, or what they could be called. When referring to white males they were called "boss" while black males were called "old man"or "boy." Jim Crow etiquette didn't allow white female and male interactions since white people were afraid of rape. Blacks were supposed to step off the sidewalk if a white person was approaching and blacks and white could not eat together. Overall Jim Crow etiquette denounced black people and promoted white power.

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