Law and Famous Trials

U.S. Supreme Court

What were the Jim Crow laws?

They were laws or practices that segregated blacks from whites. They prevailed in the American South during the late 1800s and into the first half of the 1900s. Jim Crow was a stereotype of a black man described in a nineteenth-century song-and-dance act. The first written appearance of the term is dated 1838, and by the 1880s it had fallen into common usage in the United States. Even though in 1868 Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibiting states from violating equal protection of all citizens, southern states passed many laws segregating blacks from whites in public places. In short, the laws were both manifestation and enforcement of discrimination. Thanks to the civil rights movement, the laws were finally found to be unconstitutional during the 1950s and 1960s.


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