Jim Crow Laws

TKMB Webquest


  • Jim Crow was the name of the racial caste system which operated primarily, but not exclusively in southern and border states, between 1877 and the mid-1960s.
  • Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second class citizens.
  • The most common types of laws forbade intermarriage and ordered business owners and public institutions to keep their black and white clientele separated.
  • Jim Crow signs were placed above water fountains, door entrances and exits, and in front of public facilities. There were separate hospitals for blacks and whites, separate prisons, separate public and private schools, separate churches, separate cemeteries, separate public restrooms, and separate public accommodations.

Important Person - Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. He was the son of a Baptist minister, and he was an excellent student. In Montgomery, when people would ride the bus, black people had to sit in back and let white people sit in front (Jim Crow Law). One of the first things King did was to organize a protest against the bus company. He began to organize other non-violent protests, and soon he was a leader in the civil rights movement. For many years, Martin Luther King went around the South and other parts of the United States giving speeches about civil rights and leading protests against unfair laws.


  • 1896 - In Plessy v. Ferguson, the United States Supreme Court established the "Separate but Equal Doctrine," holding that legal racial segregation does not violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
  • 1915 - The movie Birth of a Nation, based on Thomas Dixon's The Clansman, popularized many anti-black caricatures, especially the Brute. The movie also glorified the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and helped lead to its resurgence.
  • 1956 - An Alabama law barred blacks and whites from playing cards, dominoes, checkers, pool, football, baseball, basketball, or golf together. A North Carolina law required factories and plants to maintain separate bathrooms for black employees. A Louisiana law mandated that movie theaters and all places of public entertainment separate white and black patrons.