Jim Crow By Ted Limbert

The Jim Crow Era was a time period in American history where black people were seen as less than white people. As a result of this, those who thought this way did awful things to blacks. Black people were lynched, murdered, and could be put on trial and convicted for things that they didn't do and that the court didn't have evidence for. And it was not only the people of America who were descriminatory against blacks. There were systems in place by the government that oppressed black people and gave them disadvantages compared to whites. This was a terrible time in American History, as the Great Depression was going on as well. Hopefully we as Americans can learn from this and strive to create the best America possible.

Politics During Jim Crow

Emmett Till

During the Jim Crow Era, black people were disadvantaged in many ways of life. In court, all white juries were usually elected, which made the trials unfair towards blacks and almost always favored white people. An example of this is the story of Emmett Till. Emmett Till was a young, black boy who lived in northern America, but was visiting the south. Since Emmett was from the north, he did not know how people of color had to act in the south because of the racism there. He called a white woman "Baby" when seeing her at a store and ended up getting lynched by two white men shortly after. When these men were taken to trial, they were found not guilty by an all white jury. These types of things were common during the Jim Crow Era, and it was perfectly normal for an all white jury to find white people innocent in cases such as these.

The Scottsboro Boys

The Scottsboro boys are another example of how having white juries in court cases was a major disadvantage towards black people and favored whites. The Scottsboro boys were a group of nine black boys who got into a fight against a group of white boys on a train. The white boys were thrown off the train, but two girls who were with the white boys were later found hiding on a train car. The white girls, out of fear, claimed that the group of black boys had raped them. The boys were taken to trial and found guilty by an all white jury. All but the youngest, who was twelve at the time, were sentenced to death even though there was no evidence supporting the fact that the boys raped the girls. No one else was around on that train car to back up the statement that the boys raped the girls but the all white jury was still able to sentence 8 boys to death for something that was not known to be true.

Plessy V. Ferguson

Plessy V. Ferguson is another very famous case about a black man who disobeyed the segregation laws and was found guilty by all white officials. Homer A. Plessy was 1/8 black but had to identify as black in the south because of the laws. One day, Plessy refused to sit in the segregated area of a train, so he was taken to court. This was at a time when the south described its government as a "white man's government." Homer A. Plessy was found guilty by white judges, and Plessy V. Ferguson upheld state segregation laws under the doctrine "seperate but equal." Meaning that although everyone is created equally, they still have to be seperated based on their skin color according to the law.

Economics During the Jim Crow Era

The Great Depression

A large portion of the Jim Crow Era was during the Great Depression. The Great Depression was especially hard on blacks in many different ways. During the Great Depression, black people faced a staggering unemployment rate of 50 percent, compared to whites who faced a 30 percent unemployment rate. Since there was so much unemployment during the Great Depression, many people were trying to find jobs. This not only made it harder to find a job since there was so much more competition, but black people also had to cope with the "last hired. And first fired" mantra. This meant that in most jobs, black people were the last people to be hired, and the first ones to be fired out of everybody. This made it incredibly hard for blacks to find work and stay there, which was a big cause for their major unemployment rate. Along with this, around 12,000 black sharecroppers lost their jobs in southern agriculture and moved into cities in the north. This made the competition to find a job even harder for black people and it made times even more difficult.

The Great Depression

Lynchings and racial violence became more and more popular during the Great Depression. This was more common in the south where 28 Lynchings occurred in 1933. Finding a job did not get any easier for black people because many white people called for blacks to be fired from jobs if all whites were not hired. When World War II came around, blacks finally got their chance to do something. President Roosevelt issued the Executive Order 8802, which stated that all persons, regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin, would be allowed to participate fully in the defense of the United States. Many black people then took part in the war, and this executive order was a step in the right direction for America.

The Great Depression

The struggles continued for black people during the Great Depression. If they were able to get a job, they would often get paid less than white people for the same job. The NRA public works had wage differentials between different races. There were many wage differentials in place, but it was usually not noticed because the NRA rarely hired black people. Black people were also often excluded from unions and were forced to make their own. One of these unions was called the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. This was one of many unions that black people were forced to create after being excluded from other unions.

Social/Cultural effects of Jim Crow

Rosa Parks

During Jim Crow, black people were made to give things up to white people. They were also seen as less than white people and their lives were made worse because of the things they were forced to give up. Rosa Parks was a black woman living during Jim Crow, and she had decided that she should not have to give her seat up to a white man just because she was black. The laws back then were that black people sat in the back of the bus, while white people sat in the front. Rosa was sitting in the front of the bus when a white man asked her to get up and go to the back so he could sit there. Rosa refused to do this and was found guilty of violating segregation laws and she was fined $14. Rosa Parks is now seen as a hero, who stood up for what was right and inspired others to do the same. But back then she was arrested and given a fine simply for refusing to give up her seat on a bus.

The list of things that disadvantaged black people socially during Jim Crow is a very long list. In every scenario that involved a white person and a black person, the balck person was always disadvantaged. If a white person was driving a car with a black person, then it was a law that the black person had to sit in the back of the car. Segregation was still a huge part of Jim Crow, and you could find just about anywhere you looked. Restaurants were segregated, and it was even a rule that black people were not allowed to eat with white people. If a black and white person were to meet for the first time, the white person always introduced their self to the balck person, it was never the other way around. Society was very difficult for black people during Jim Crow because of all the rules and laws that were in place.

No matter what it was in society, black people were always disadvantaged to white people. If a black person and a white person were to stop at an intersection, the white person always had the right of way. It did not matter if the black person was to the right of the white person or if the black person got there first, if they were both stopped at the intersection the white person always had the right of way. Things like these truly defined the Jim Crow Era. In every aspect of life, blacks were treated worse than whites and were expected to give up certain things to white people. From segregation laws to black people not being able to eat with white people, whites were always seen as superior to blacks in Jim Crow and were seen as better than them in just about every category simply because of the color of their skin.

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