Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Condoleezza Rice are just some of the names that people tend to offer when saying that the United States is long past the days of Jim Crow. While such a statement is certainly debatable and in many ways untrue, what isn’t debatable is the fact that in terms of time, Jim Crow is not that far removed from us.
In reality, the last of the legal barriers facing African-Americans was torn down less than 50 years ago with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which disallowed racial discrimination when it came to voting in United States elections.
Many amendments to that act have since been passed (some of which have effectively gutted it), and the Department of Justice believes the Voting Rights Act to be the most important legislation involving civil rights that has ever been enacted.
Water fountains were one of the most common places where racial segregation was observed.
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Instead of employing a separate entrance, some whole establishments were simply labeled “for colored people”.
Source: History In Photos
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To gain access to the colored entrance of this theater, you’d better be able to physically ascend an outdoor flight of stairs.
Source: Gallery Hip
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“Integration is Education” – Jim Crow protesters gather outside of George V. Brower School.
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One protester displays his strong feelings about segregation in America.
Source: The Richest
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During the Freedom Riders travels throughout the South to protest segregated bus stations, one bus was set on fire by an angry mob. Luckily, everyone on the bus was able to escape without injury.
Source: Fast Track Teaching
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The spring of 1963 brought protest against police brutality and discrimination to Birmingham, Alabama. Police chief Bull Connor famously turned fire hoses on protesters, and used attack dogs and his own fists to physically beat unarmed people – including women and children.
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May 17th, 1954: Segregated education was deemed unconstitutional following the Brown v the Board of EducationThe Higher Learning
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Alabama Governor George Wallace attempted to block the admission of African-American students at the University of Alabama.
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President Eisenhower ordered a military escort for nine black students to class on September 24, 1957. The previously all-white Central High School in Arkansas had remained segregated (despite the 1954 ruling) and these nine students volunteered to be integrated first.
Source: Share America
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President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark legislation that that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in public accommodations. The Voting Rights Act was passed a little over a year later, in 1965.
20 Photos Of Segregation In America That Show How Far We’ve Come, And How Much Farther We Have To Go
When Jim Crow was put into effect following the Reconstruction period, African Americans’ status in the South was defined yet again by whites in positions of power, this time not as three-fifths of a person but as “separate but equal”. As the photos here suggest, racial segregation that followed did little to suggest that equality actually existed. Instead, it led to inferior conditions and discrimination within almost every facet of segregated society, and whose legacy can still be seen today.
For more on Jim Crow laws, check out this short--and chilling--documentary: