Jim Crow Laws

The Events, Laws and Effects of Jim Crow Laws

What are the Jim Crow Laws?

The Jim Crow Laws were laws in the U.S that enforced racial segregation in public places. The Jim Crows were in effect from 1877 to the mid 1960's. The Jim Crow Laws took away rights that the blacks had from the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.

At the time, African Americans were not accepted by society. They were considered outcasts and were not allowed to do the things whites could do.

Blacks were not able to drink from the same water fountains as whites and were not allowed to use any white facilities such as bathrooms or restaurants. In some states blacks and whites had separate parks and could not be buried in the same area as one another. (1)(CH)

Basic Laws

1. "A black man could not offer his hand to a white man because it implied being socially equal; A black man could not offer his hand to a white woman, because he risked being accused of rape."

2. "Blacks and whites were not supposed to eat together. If they did, whites were served first and some sort of partition between them"

3. "Blacks were not allowed to show public affection toward one another in public, because it offended whites"

4. "Never laugh at a white person"

5. "Never comment upon the appearance of a white female" (1) (CH)

Effects of the Jim Crow Laws

Many African Americans moved to the North to escape racial segregation. The Jim Crow Laws also made blacks unable to vote. Having the right to vote was what almost all African Americans wanted most. Because of the ongoing Jim Crow laws, many people spoke out and tried to end racial segregation. The Jim Crows were one of the causes of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's. (2)(CH)


Lynching is the illegal killing an accused person. Most victims were hung, shot, burned alive, or beaten. Lynching became a major effect of the Jim Crow Laws. The majority of the lynchings took place in the southern and boarder states.

Jim Crow and Today

Racial segregation was one of the main issues in the U.S in the late 1800's to mid 1900's. Today people are still prejudice towards African Americans. Many whites were raised to believe that blacks were not equal to whites. Some whites think that they are and always have been better than blacks. However, African Americans are not the only race that people are prejudice towards in today's society. (CH)

Timeline of Jim Crow


1880’s: After the civil war many of the freed slaves began to mingle into the daily lives of the white citizens who had once own them. The Democrats in congress decided this could not happen and decided to “segregate” the African Americans. They created the Jim Crow Laws, named after a mocking character of a black person. (3) When the blacks first began voting, they outnumbered whites. The Southerners could not allow this so they passed laws that dwindled the number of black voters to a very small number. (3, 5) Louisiana was notorious for its voting laws. It adopted laws such as the poll tax, literacy test, and grandfather clause. To vote under the poll tax, one had to pay money, which was a problem for the blacks who were poor at the time. Many of the blacks were uneducated due to their slave days so the literacy test limited the voters down to only those who could read. The grandfather clause allowed a person to vote if their grandfather could The grandfather clause allowed all the uneducated “White Trash” to vote because their grandparents could vote. However, most black’s grandparents were former slaves as well and never had the chance to vote.(3)


The Jim Crow laws in the south reached an all time high in the 1890’s. Laws separated every possible life action and commodity into whites and blacks. Under Jim Crow, toilets were to be separated, intermarriage was illegal, and restaurants separated as well. Schools, hospitals, barbers and even cemeteries were separated under the Jim Crow Laws. (4)


Important Dates of Jim Crow:

portant Dates of Jim Crow:

  • Beginning of the 1890’s- Southern states created literacy tests, poll taxes and complex registration systems. The laws restricted many blacks from voting. In Mississippi, less than 6% of the voting-age African Americans registered to vote3

  • Riots of 1919- Took place in Chicago, Knoxville, Nashville, Charleston, Omaha, and 24 other cities nationwide; A total of 77 blacks were lynched and fourteen blacks were publicly burned.(1) (CH)

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