Jim Crowe Laws
Jim Crowe Laws and the KKK
Most of the kids of today have heard about KKK and it’s in (glorious) past. What they do not realize is the compelling reasons that led to the formation of such an extreme right thinking organization. The conditions in the southern states were a perfect breeding ground for such a white supremacy group to come into existence. It was in 1860’s and whites in southern states were afraid of the advancement of blacks in society and economy that reflected in some whites engaging in terror activities to drive blacks away form the area. If one takes a look at KKK history, it becomes clear that the organization has resurfaced every time it was thought to have been extinct, albeit in a new form. KKK has been like a chameleon literally, changing colors to get acceptability from the white population. So it was anti black in the 1st phase but included anti Semitism and anti communism in the 2nd phase in its policies to have wider acceptance and respectability. The movement became very popular in the 2nd phase and every 6th white in the population supported the movement during the 2nd phase. It even received political support with many officials in cities having sympathies for the movement.
Not many people are aware of Jim Crow laws and how these laws had an impact in breeding social tensions between whites and blacks that played a significant role in the formation of Ku Klux Klan and the violent activities that the group indulged in against the blacks. The state and local laws enacted in the country from 1876 to 1965 are referred to as Jim Crow Laws. These laws were meant to segregate whites and blacks and to provide same facilities to black, but separately. Thus we saw clubs, restaurants, public transport, and so for blacks that were supposedly same as meant for whites though anyone could see the huge difference in quality between the facilities for the whites and those meant for the blacks.
There is an interesting incident behind why separate but equal laws were called Jim Crow laws. There was this white actor called Thomas Rice who performed a dace sequence (Jump Jim Crow) normally attributed to blacks. He did this to make a mockery of the populist policies of Andrew Jackson to appease blacks, or so it was widely believed by whites. The phrase Jim Crow became famous as a pejorative expression for blacks and this is why the laws called equal but separate actually encouraged segregation between whites and blacks and continued till 1965 when the Supreme Court directed the federal government to put an end to the policy of segregation in a famous Brown vs. Board of Education case.
All along the period when Jim Crow Laws were being used as a state policy whites justified their actions (read violence) against blacks thinking they had protection from the state. Despite this thinking, KKK website is full of instances when state crushed members of Ku Klux Klan by incarcerating them and registering cases against them in trial courts.
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