African American History

What does Jim Crow mean?

The term Jim Crow was a very popular term in the south after the civil war. Jim Crow was laws that had been enacted with the main intention of discriminating and suppressing the rights of the blacks. These laws went as far as legalizing discrimination and segregation once the civil war was over. The laws had been named after an extremely famous song by the name of “Jim Crow.” The song adopted was from a four-man group, who smeared their faces with black cork before putting an act in a song-and-dance. They did this in a bid to imitate the blacks. The laws worked under a system of “separate is equal” between the whites and blacks.

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These laws stipulated that blacks were not allowed to have an access into parks, restrooms, theatres, restaurant and boarding stations among many other social places. The working of these laws was evidenced in the year 1896 in a case of Plessey vs. Ferguson ruling that separate facilities were encouraged constitutionally. The law came into being after the some whites from the south felt threatened by the blacks who had migrated to the urban areas in search of employment. The whites felt that they were losing control of the blacks, since they initially controlled the blacks in rural areas by employing them in the farms. In 1954, the Supreme Court made the most critical decision by terming the act of segregation in public schools as unconstitutional. The Jim Crow laws ended in the year 1960s after the Civil Rights Movement.

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Why were religious beliefs and activities important to so many African Americans?

The African Americans had a deep connection to religious believes. The African cultures were still intact; therefore, none of the African cultures represented by the African Americans, who had originated from various parts of Africa, could easily be diffused. The Blacks continued to develop the cultures that were originally practiced in Africa. These cultures included rituals and the concept of the African religions. The African Americans held the religion even more, as a form of solace, due to the existing hardships that they were experiencing. The religion gave them a sense of self-identity and value from the rampant discrimination that they were experiencing from the Whites. The Blacks associated their prevailing tribulations with that of Jesus Christ that gave them hope that their sufferings were short lived. The hardships that the African Americans were going through made them place their trust on the Supreme that would not disappoint them.

How, where and why did segregation of the races begin?

Racial segregation means the existence of a divide between races. This is mostly contributed by the superiority complex in a given race. It is difficult to outline when segregation started since it is as old as humankind is. In the United States, this duration normally refers to the existence of a divide between the Whites and the African Americans. These resulted from migration of blacks from the rural areas where they worked in white farms to urban areas. Some whites from the South felt threatened by the blacks, who were competing for same employment opportunity in towns and cities. Racial segregation was more widely spread in the southern states than in other parts of the United State. In the southern state, the Whites did all they could, in order to put the Blacks down. The degree of segregation became evidently clear once the Whites barred the Black from participating in politics through denying them the right to vote. The Whites felt so superior that they would not give the Blacks the opportunity of holding any offices, owning of lands, or intermarriages.

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How were black voters disenfranchised?

Later on, in the 1870s, the democrats, eventually, regained power in the Southern states. In some years, during the election period, there broke skirmishes where the opponents faced threats from the paramilitary groups, which resulted into attacking the African Americans. These attacks were so rampant that the African Americans were barred from voting. The high prevalence of violence during the campaigns was aimed at discouraging the Blacks from occupying any offices. Although, the laws protecting the civil rights had been enacted, the Whites were not ready to be governed by the Blacks to any extent. The extend of the existing hatred towards the Blacks from the white was evident when the Ku Klux Klan organized themselves and set out to terrorize the African American population (Jones, 2007). These groups hunted the Blacks, like animals, and mistreated them to the extent of killing, simply because these people attempted to attend schools or vote.

In conclusion, the issue of racial segregation has been a thorn in the flesh for many years. There has always been the prevalence of some people or a race that felt superior to the rest; this fact has provided room for segregation for years. The vice claimed lives of many people, in the past; therefore, people should never take the peaceful co-existence between races for granted.

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