Jim Crow
Jim Crow
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Jim Crow Terms

Black Codes

A set of laws passed by southern states after the Civil War in order to restrict the rights of former slaves, to limit their choice in employment, and to prevent them from owning property. Congress nullified the codes with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Fourteenth Amendment. The Black Codes are often confused with Jim Crow laws, which dealt specifically with separating the races in public spaces.

Blackface

Makeup, initially burnt cork or coal, applied to the faces and limbs of white performers, such as antebellum-era minstrel actor Thomas "Daddy" Rice, to give them an exaggeratedly black appearance—far blacker than any African American.

Makeup, initially burnt cork or coal, applied to the faces and limbs of white performers to give them an exaggeratedly black appearance—far blacker than any African-American; this became abundantly clear when African Americans themselves started performing in the 1840s and were forced to "black up" with the makeup in order to conform to the expectations of minstrelsy.

Jim Crow

Jim Crow laws restricted blacks from entering many public and private facilities designated for whites, including parks, libraries, schools, restaurants, bathrooms, markets, bars, pools, and even brothels. After the 1870s, Jim Crow restrictions were most prevalent in the South, where nearly 90% of the nation's black population lived. However, before the American Civil War, Jim Crow laws had existed outside the South in cities such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.

The term "Jim Crow" was first coined in the 1830s by American audiences who watched Thomas "Daddy" Rice, a white man performing in blackface, portray a comic black slave who danced and sang with glee. By the early 1900s, the term had come to describe the institutionalized system of segregation that kept blacks and whites separate in schools, restaurants, theaters, bathrooms, pools, buses, bars, markets, libraries and all other public facilities in the American South.

The term "Jim Crow" was first coined in the 1830s by American audiences who watched Thomas "Daddy" Rice, a white man performing in black face, portray a comic black slave who danced and sang with glee. By the early 1900s, the term had come to describe the institutionalized system of segregation that kept blacks and whites separate in schools, restaurants, theaters, bathrooms, pools, buses, bars, markets, libraries and all other public facilities in the American South.

A minstrel-show character first introduced by white actor Thomas "Daddy" Rice in the 1830s. The name of this buffoonish, black caricature became synonymous with racial segregation in the post-Civil War era.

The term "Jim Crow" was first coined in the 1830s by American audiences who watched Thomas "Daddy" Rice, a white man performing in blackface, portray a comic black slave who danced and sang with glee. By the early 1900s, the term had come to describe the institutionalized system of segregation that kept blacks and whites separate in schools, restaurants, theaters, bathrooms, pools, buses, bars, markets, libraries and all other public facilities in the American South.

"white Death", "white Terror"

African-American writer Richard Wright coined the term "white death," or "white terror," to refer to the white-on-black crime that haunted black communities, particularly in the South through the mid-1900s, and prevented many hard-working citizens from voting, owning property, or resisting segregation laws.

African-American writer Richard Wright coined the term "white death," or "white terror," to refer to the white-on-black crime that haunted black communities, particularly in the South through the mid-twentieth century, and prevented many hard-working citizens from voting, owning property, and resisting segregation laws.

Radical Reconstruction, Congressional Reconstruction

Also referred to as Congressional Reconstruction, this phase of post-Civil War Reconstruction began in 1867 when the U.S. Congress, dominated by Radical Republicans, passed a number of laws called the Reconstruction Acts. These acts mandated a number of major reforms to southern state governments, including the enfranchisement of all black men and the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, which secured equal protection rights for former slaves. Radical Reconstruction officially ended with the Compromise of 1877, in which the white South agreed to accept the Republican candidate for president in return for the withdrawal of all federal troops from the South. By the end of it all, the nation would be forever transformed. The legacy of this era would be debated for over a century, until the modern Civil Rights Movement set out to finish what Radical Reconstruction had begun.

Grandfather Clause

A loophole created by southern legislatures in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to protect illiterate whites from disenfranchisement. The clause exempted any citizen whose grandfather had been eligible to vote in 1867 from other voting requirements, including literacy tests. Since only whites were eligible to vote prior to the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, the clause unfairly disadvantaged black citizens.

Poll Tax, Poll Taxes

A tax that must be paid in order to be eligible to vote. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many southern states required a poll tax for voter registration, effectively disenfranchising black citizens who often could not afford the fee.

Sharecropping

A form of tenant farming that developed in the South after the Civil War in which workers farm a plot of land in exchange for supplies and a share of the crop.

Segregation

Any policy for separating people on the basis of race.
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