Racial Stereotypes

By: Devin McCann and Kennedy Duffy

Racial Stereotypes from reconstruction and during the civil rights movement

Since the black race came to America as slaves, they have encountered racial stereotypes and segregation. Racial stereotypes from reconstruction through the Civil Rights movement exacerbated the social and cultural relationships between blacks and white. Racial segregation has improved since then, but it took years for them to gain equal freedom to whites. After the civil war blacks were freed from slavery in the south. Even with this large step toward equality, blacks still encountered separation by color, disenfranchisement, black codes, and Jim Crow laws. During the time when whites had more freedom and opportunity blacks had many activists to help spread their message. One of these activist is Malcolm X. Not only was he a black activist, but a human rights activist in the 1950s-60s. The blacks have endured multiple forms of racial indifference over the years that still are present today.(KD) (DM)

Separation Between Blacks & Whites During Reconstruction

Racial Segregation began by the white Americans trying to keep the African Americans in a lower status than them. The white Americans didn't want the African Americans feeling equal to them, even though the Civil War was over, and slavery was ended. Examples of how the whites accomplished this is by having separate bathrooms, water fountains, and schools for the white Americans and African Americans. More examples of this is separate doors to walk into places such as restaurants, separate military polices, and businesses for white Americans and African Americans.1 (DM)
Civil Rights and the 1950s: Crash Course US History #39

This is a video explaining segregation in the 1950's.(KD)

Disfranchisement of the Black During Reconstruction

Direct disenfranchisement occurred in the 1880-1965. Disenfranchisement refers to the actions to prevent people from voting or having their votes counted. The 15th Amendment was created in order to prohibit disenfranchisement because of race or enslavement. The southern states devised alternate techniques to disenfranchise blacks that will go around the 15th Amendment. The main forms of disenfranchisement were violence, fraud, and literacy tests.(2)(KD)

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This picture shows how when blacks had the ability to vote most blacks went toward Republicans. Once the disfranchisement started happening the votes went down dramatically.(KD)

Black Codes During Reconstruction

During Reconstruction, there were laws imposed in the states that were formerly the confederacy, after the Civil War called the Black Codes. They were created to control the social freedom of the slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation and 13th amendment were created. It was just another way white Americans belittled African Americans, after the Civil War and Slavery was over. These Black Codes had root in what was before, slave codes. The idea that was common in EVERY single slave code was that the "color line" was very clear, meaning that it all originated back to that fact that they weren't white, and in most people eyes' that made them not equal. Some slaves, of course, didn't take this cruel and unfair punishment, which caused some of them to rebel. Many slaves were convicted for insurrection and murder. Also, many slaves tried to escape and run away. With slaves running away, came rewards for people who found or caught the runaways. Some examples of slave codes include: they could not own property, they could not strike a white person-even if they were attacked, when in court their testimony was not valid against whites (meaning they never stood a chance winning against a white person in court, no matter what the situation was), they could not be away from their owners without permission, they could not own firearms or weapons, they could not marry, and they could not be taught to read or write.(3)(DM)
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This is an ORIGINAL document of a reward sign for runaway slaves. This was very common when the Black Codes were established, and slaves were rebelling.(DM)

Jim Crow Laws during the Civil Rights Movement

The Jim Crow laws were enacted by Southern states and municipalities, beginning in the 1800s.(4) These laws legalized segregation between blacks and whites during this time period. Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second class citizens. These laws represented the legitlimazation of anti-black racism. The Jim Crow laws werent pushed to be ended until many movements were completed. A March on Washingtom by over 200,000 in 1963 dramatized these movements. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 finally ended the legal sanctions to Jim Crow.(5)(KD)
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These type of signs would be put up on the outside of stores, restaurants, etc. The signs were very common in the South after the civil war.(5)(KD)

Rules for Blacks under the Jim Crow Laws

  1. Never assert or even intimate that a white person is lying.
  2. Never impute dishonorable intentions to a white person.
  3. Never suggest that a white person is from an inferior class.
  4. Never lay claim to, or overly demonstrate, superior knowledge or intelligence.
  5. Never curse a white person.
  6. Never laugh derisively at a white person.
  7. Never comment upon the appearance of a white female.(5)(KD)

Malcolm X During the Civil Rights Movement

Malcolm X was a prominent figure during the Civil Rights movement. He expressed concepts of "race pride" and "black nationalism." Malcolm not only disagreed about segregation towards blacks, but he believed that everyone should have equal human rights in general. He was a civil rights activist that believed in violence, and that violence was one of the only ways that could make a difference with Civil Rights.(6) White Americans were fearful of him, and were struck by him and his people. After Malcolm X was assassinated,(people of his Islamic culture were afraid he was becoming too powerful, and killed him) his autobiography "The autobiography of Malcolm X was released and showed people how much human rights meant to him, and reminded them of "human possibility and achievement." Malcolm X influenced many people and admired his clarity of so many African Americans being denied human rights.(7) (DM)

FUN FACT! DID YOU know that in 1964 Malcom X made a pilgrimage to mecca and changed his name to el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz?!(7) (DM)

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Slavery and Segreation in 1860 Infographic 8, 9 (DM)

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Graph of the total number of slaves in each state (DM)

Interview of Laura Smalley's Response to Enslavement (10)

Interviewee: Laura Smalley

Interviewer: John Henry Faulk

JHF: Well, did the slaves ever try a slip away, they ever try to run off?

LS: No. Not none on, not, not none on the place where we was. I never heard them say they run off over there. Run off. Other places I heared them stay in the woods, and ah, so long until they wear the clothes off them, slip up. Now I heard mama say when she was a girl, when she was a girl, you know, she, she, she because she brought from Mississippi, when she was a girl, they'd ah, they'd one old woman run off. She did run off. She did run off. They beat her so she run off-and every night she slip home and somebody have her something to eat. Something to eat. And she'd get that vittles and go on back in the woods. Go on back in the woods. And they would-you know just a, they'd tell her, the other, you know, because you see, I don't know what they name, 'See so and so? Ever see them? Say, 'No.' Well, you tell them if they come home we ain't going whup them. We ain't going whup them if they come home. Well, that be all the way know they'd come. Said once that a man stayed in the woods so long, until his hair long on them like a dog.

JHF: [laugh]

LS: On them. You know, just growed up, you know, and stayed in the woods. Just stayed in the woods.

Unidentified woman interviewer: Hmm.

LS: And they couldn't get them out.

JHF: Well, did any of them run off and get plum free, where they, did you ever hear of-

LS: I heard talk of them.

JHF: -- your mother talking about them?

LS: Heard them talking about they going off, you know. Going off to places where they free.??? what I heard her say, I didn't know that. She said just like see, be some white people, you know, with some nigga come along, you know, and he'd just get them off, you know. She take them, carry them off where he wouldn't be, tell them he wouldn't be no slave, or wouldn't be beat up, you know. And carry them off that a way.


To conclude, during this time blacks did not have the equal rights they might of thought right out of slavery. The blacks underwent segregation, disfranchisement, Black codes, Jim Crow law. They had many movements and civil rights leaders who tried to push the importance of equal rights for this race. One of the more memorable civil rights activist was Malcolm X. He not only beleived racial rights, but human rights in general. The Reconstruction time brought forth much problem of the south revolting on giving the African American rights. They were originally slaves, and the blacks didn't see them as equals if you look through the Black Codes. In the end the race gained their equality and much respect. These forms of discrimination are now a large part of history for those african americans today.(KD)