20 Photos Of Segregation In America That Show How Far We’ve Come, And How Much Farther We Have To Go

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.

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American Segregation Playground

Black children look to a playground legally forbidden from them. Source: Daily Mail

American Segregation Mannequins

This image was shot by Gordon Parks on assignment for the September 1956 Life magazine photo-essay The Restraints: Open and Hidden. Source: Daily Mail

American Segregation Ice Cream Stand

Here, we see an Alabama eatery where a family orders ice cream from the “colored” side of the counter. Source: Daily Mail

American Segregation Colored Water Cooler

A young man drinking from a colored fountain located in a streetcar terminal. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1939. Source: Wikipedia

American Segregation Military Police

A military policeman shown on his motorcycle, in front of the "colored" MP entrance during the Second World War. Source: Wikipedia

American Segregation Back Of The Bus

If not separated completely, then by section; all African Americans were relegated to the rear of a bus. Source: Gallery Hip

American Segregation Colored Taxi Service

Segregation in transportation went further than just the public bus system. Source: Blogspot

American Segregation Colored Classroom

Inside an all-black classroom. Source: Fly Brother

American Segregation Colored Waiting Room

Durham, North Carolina, 1940. Source: McMahan Photo

American Segregation Water Fountain

Water fountains were one of the most common places where racial segregation was observed. Source: Photobucket

American Segregation Colored Theater

Instead of employing a separate entrance, some whole establishments were simply labeled “for colored people”. Source: History In Photos

American Segregation Colored Admission

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

American Segregation School Protest

“Integration is Education” – Jim Crow protesters gather outside of George V. Brower School. Source: Glogster

American Segregation Unamerican

One protester displays his strong feelings about segregation in America. Source: The Richest

American Segregation Freedom Riders Bus

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

American Segregation Birmingham Hose

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. Source: Wordpress

American Segregation Ends

May 17th, 1954: Segregated education was deemed unconstitutional following the Brown v the Board of EducationThe Higher Learning

American Segregation Blocking Black Students

Alabama Governor George Wallace attempted to block the admission of African-American students at the University of Alabama. Source: Wikipedia

American Segregation Little Rock Nine

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

American Segregation LBJ

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. Source: Wikipedia

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:

7 Beautiful National Parks You Need To Visit

There are more than 400 national parks in the United States, each either representing a place of great scientific, educational or recreational value, or being known for their exceptional beauty. Covering all climates and land types, these national parks are some of the most breathtaking locales in all of the world. Here are seven lesser-known yet incredibly beautiful national parks that you should visit.

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Source: Wikimedia

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Grand Jury’s Decision To Drop Case Against Ferguson Police Officer As Unusual As It Is Upsetting

Protests in Ferguson, Missouri

Source: USA Today

On Monday, November 24th, 2014 a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri declined to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed an unarmed teenager, Mike Brown, this past summer. The decision to drop the case against Wilson has sparked thousands of protests across the nation.

This case is notable for more than its highly publicized nature: it’s also incredibly unusual for a grand jury to decline to return an indictment. In 2010, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases, and only dropped 11 (16%) of them. According to University of Illinois law professor, Andrew D. Leipold, “if the prosecutor wants an indictment and doesn’t get one, something has gone horribly wrong… It just doesn’t happen.” As former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously stated, a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” There is one notable exception to this rule–when the accused is a police officer.

Furgeson's Grand Jury failed to indite WIlson

Number of cases federal courts declined to prosecute are in red. Source: Washington Post

The alarming trend of grand juries dropping cases against police officers is not unique to Ferguson, but a nationwide issue stemming from a systematic lack of officer accountability. According to Michael Bell, retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and the father of a 21-year-old Wisconsin man who was handcuffed and then shot in the head at point blank range by a police officer, “if police on duty believe they can get away with almost anything, they will act accordingly.” Thanks largely to the Bell family, Wisconsin became the first (and currently the only) state which requires outside review of all officer-involved fatalities.

Even if positive social or political change comes out of Mike Brown’s death it won’t happen quick enough to change this week’s decision, and questions surrounding the case still remain. Jurors didn’t need to believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Wilson had committed a crime. All they needed for an indictment was to feel that there was probable cause. There were multiple eye-witnesses who claimed Brown raised his hands in the air, and irrefutable evidence that Wilson fired at the unarmed teen ten times, so why was the case against Wilson dropped?

Lyndon B. Johnson’s Amphibious Car

Amphibious Car

Before the Vietnam War would pin the death-nail on his presidential legacy, LBJ managed to have quite a sense of humor. Seen here is LBJ’s amphibious car, which he would use at his Texas ranch to play pranks on guests. One stand out prank was taking his guests out for a spin, pretend to lose control of the vehicle as they approached the lake, and shout “The brakes don’t work! We’re going in! We’re going under!” The car would then enter the water where, as guests were trying to prevent their heart from popping out of their chests, Johnson would laugh.
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