The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow Laws

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Jim Crow Laws in the United States

Jim Crow laws beleaguered the USA from the beginning of 1870 and spread up to the end of the reconstruction period and ended with the Civil rights movement towards the end of the 1959's. The laws were symbolic though they were written and obeyed, and allowing the separation to take place in the South. In the event that an individual did not obey these laws, it led to their burning, beating, hanging among other remedies. Though murder was illegal, the intensity of the unjustified cases of murder was still being witnessed during that time and it was elaborate that the legal systems in the south did not favor the side of the African Americans. As highlighted by Southern Horrors and Other Writings, Ida Wells depicts that "lynch law has become so common in the United States that the finding of a negro body, suspended between heaven and earth to the limb of a tree, is of so slight importance that, neither the civil authorities nor press agencies consider it worth investigating" (Harold 107). From the illustration, the situation was sickening and terrifying at the same time especially for the colored individuals of the time. Fortunately, the laws were destroyed due to the political, economic, technological and social factors which affected their adherence.

The Economic Perspective

From an economic perspective, blacks had a considerably big challenge in improving their economic status. Most blacks lived in the south as tenants, sharecroppers, and others were contract laborers. There were various organizations which were formed to uplift the spirit of the African Americans. "In 1890 Booker T. Washington organized the Tuskegee Negro farmers conference... these conferences encouraged their members to purchase their own property, avoid credit, and sell cooperatively" (Harold 133). After the African Americans gained a sense of economic security, it boosted their confidence in a nation that was classified as a racists state and one that was founded on the basis of money. Education was considered as a key to the economic progress. During the years of reconstruction, several blacks started obtaining an education, while lack of education was seen as just ignorance. The blacks were never allowed to work above the whites, hence the white supremacy at the workplace reigned in the economy. Before the reconstruction period, the blacks were trained to serve the needs of the whites which was a broken mindset and a trained concept. The African Americans formed an organization of the elites in the various institutions of higher education so as to ensure the spread of knowledge across the race of the blacks. From the educational institutions, there was the formation of the HBCU which is also referred to the Historical Black Colleges and Universities (Janken 334). Education was considered as the key to progress and hence it increased the power of knowing. Through the various efforts that the blacks made, they could not create a fair economic background for their families without the input of the government. Despite putting up the facilities for higher education, the public education that catered for the youths was still not accomplished as a result of the segregation and the lack of the necessities. "Although southern whites eventually excepted the view that public education for blacks was necessary, black schools everywhere were woefully underfunded" (The Rise and fall of Jim Crow).

The Political Perspective

In terms of the political perspective, it was the long route to the preparations of the Civil rights movement. The amendments in the constitution, mainly the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments saw the African Americans freed from slavery points and hence they acquired citizenship as well as gave them the voting rights. Though the amendments were associated with a couple of merits, there were also flaws witnessed. Some of the advantages of the amendments include; the African Americans had control over their future, while the government protected them as part of the larger citizens. In addition, they acquired freedom. The demerits of the event saw the segregation in the nation based on racism, insecurities within the race as well as lynching since they were not fully protected (Janken 341). The race required empowerment to spur them to an equal level with the rest of the races. Since the African Americans were allowed to vote, they elected the leaders, who would abuse them and propagated the rule of the white supremacy. The rise of the Jim Crow laws stood their way and gave the whites the freedom to impart fear among African Americans. The Democratic Party had the highest levels of racism.

The Fear of Lynching

Lynching instilled the fear among the African Americans and kept them in check. The whites felt that the African Americans had a lot of freedom, hence they used the Jim Crow laws to implant fear in them. The fear of the whites was seen as a sign of respect to them as they feared the poles due to the word that the blacks were being lynched for voting. The national lynching campaign as well as the NAACP were witnessed in the 1930s and gave an exposure as well as the impact of lynching as the Roosevelt regime campaigned against lynching. "Lynching and other forms of white violence helped explain the migration of blacks from the south in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century" (Janken 356). The various newspaper publishers denounced mob violence as well as broadcasting, which saw the African American leaders such as W.E.B DuBois/ Marcus Garvey as well as other high society organizations gain the consent of what was taking place. By 1938, there was a substantial decline in lynching among the blacks and the nation in general. Except for the political power, the blacks were seen as powerless and were still overpowered by the whites. The NAACP was one of the organizations that championed for equality among the races and worked with the assistance of the various political leaders, who helped to pass the desegregation laws and the anti-lynching laws. Working with defendants' cases such as the case of Brown v Board of education caused segregation in the system thus creating an equal opportunity for all the learners from all races to learn as witnessed in the 1950s.

Social Dynamics and Recognition

Ever more, the African American race started becoming smarter and productive and their presence started being recognized at the workplace. Though there was racism that was still prevailing, the blacks made their goals clear what they wanted for themselves. In the social dynamics, the African Americans started becoming part of the wider conversations and they took positions in the socio-economic sphere, but were still being looked down upon. Though the 1930s and 1940's several lawsuits were held, they breached the trust of segregated education and they were getting more popular as the cases continued (Janken 362). The NAACP challenged the legitimacy of "separate but equal" in the 1940s and collaborated with the civil organizations, thus succeeded in changing the checks and balances for the employers and laborers. The law saw the two parties formulate organized labor, though they were initially excluding the blacks. The organized labor laws created many opportunities and the blacks were able to compete for the chances in the workforce. The National Negro Congress succeeded in moving the blacks into the new workforce design in the 1930s, which was a big sigh for the African Americans. More to that, the support of the African Americans weakened the rationality of racism as they were helping the nation in fighting against Hitler.

The End of Jim Crow Laws

The Jim Crow laws were abolished by the NAACP among other factors hence made the Civil War Movement possible. As the African Americans sought to fight the government themselves, there were several campaigns which were conducted to end lynching in the south. The abolishment of the Jim Crow laws was associated with overthrowing the regime of white dictatorship and the formulation of a voice for equality in politics. In order to achieve the accomplishment of destruction, they used the principle of "separate but equal" both in schools and at the workplace. The abolition of the Jim Crow laws gave the African Americans a fair education, if not to mention the desegregation of the school system. With all, the events which were taking place in the United States, the Jim Crow laws were diminished and did not stand any chance in the society. Despite some aspects of racism being witnessed and still being fought, the strategies that allowed the civil rights movement and war left a huge mark in the historical development of the nation, since there was nothing much which would have been achieved without their planning.

Works Cited

Harold, Claudrena N. The Rise and Fall of the Garvey Movement in the Urban South, 1918–1942. Abington: Routledge, 2014.

Janken, Kenneth R. "The civil rights movement: 1919-1960s." Freedom’s Story, Teacher Serve. University of North Carolina. (2010).

November 13, 2023


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