Jim Crow was the name given to the hundreds of laws put into effect in (mostly) Southern and border states in the years following Reconstruction. These laws stayed in place until the mid 60s, when the Civil Rights Movement began to dismantle them. Blacks were relegated to the position of 2nd class citizens, and there was nothing they could do against the laws but to obey them. Otherwise, you paid with your life via lynching or other means, I believe at times that Jim Crow is still around even now. Below I have listed examples of Jim Crow laws from various states, gleaned from the Internet.

“It shall be unlawful for a negro and white person to play together or in company with each other in any game of cards or dice, dominoes or checkers.”—Birmingham, Alabama, 1930


“It shall be unlawful for any white prisoner to be handcuffed or otherwise chained or tied to a negro prisoner.”—Arkansas, 1903


“No colored barber shall serve as a barber to white women or girls.”—Atlanta, Georgia, 1926


“Marriages are void when one party is a white person and the other is possessed of one-eighth or more negro, Japanese, or Chinese blood.”—Nebraska, 1911

“Any person…presenting for public acceptance or general information, arguments or suggestions in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between whites and negroes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.”—Mississippi, 1920


“Separate free schools shall be established for the education of children of African descent; and it shall be unlawful for any colored child to attend any white school, or any white child to attend a colored school.”—Missouri, 1929


“Any white woman who shall suffer or permit herself to be got with child by a negro or mulatto…shall be sentenced to the penitentiary for not less than eighteen months.”—Maryland, 1924


“All railroads carrying passengers in the state (other than street railroads) shall provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races, by providing two or more passenger cars for each passenger train, or by dividing the cars by a partition, so as to secure separate accommodations.”—Tennessee, 1891

“The Corporate Commission is hereby vested with power to require telephone companies in the State of Oklahoma to maintain separate booths for white and colored patrons when there is a demand for such separate booths.”—Oklahoma, 1915

  1. Barbers. No colored barber shall serve as a barber (to) white girls or women (Georgia).
  2. Blind Wards. The board of trustees shall…maintain a separate building…on separate ground for the admission, care, instruction, and support of all blind persons of the colored or black race (Louisiana).
  3. Burial. The officer in charge shall not bury, or allow to be buried, any colored persons upon ground set apart or used for the burial of white persons (Georgia).
  4. Buses.All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races (Alabama).

  5. Child Custody. It shall be unlawful for any parent, relative, or other white person in this State, having the control or custody of any white child, by right of guardianship, natural or acquired, or otherwise, to dispose of, give or surrender such white child permanently into the custody, control, maintenance, or support, of a negro (South Carolina).
  6. Education.The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted separately (Florida).
  7. Libraries. The state librarian is directed to fit up and maintain a separate place for the use of the colored people who may come to the library for the purpose of reading books or periodicals (North Carolina).
  8. Mental Hospitals. The Board of Control shall see that proper and distinct apartments are arranged for said patients, so that in no case shall Negroes and white persons be together (Georgia).
  9.  Militia. The white and colored militia shall be separately enrolled, and shall never be compelled to serve in the same organization. No organization of colored troops shall be permitted where white troops are available and where whites are permitted to be organized, colored troops shall be under the command of white officers (North Carolina).
  10. Nurses. No person or corporation shall require any White female nurse to nurse in wards or rooms in hospitals, either public or private, in which negro men are placed (Alabama).
  11. Prisons. The warden shall see that the white convicts shall have separate apartments for both eating and sleeping from the negro convicts (Mississippi).
  12. Reform Schools. The children of white and colored races committed to the houses of reform shall be kept entirely separate from each other (Kentucky).

  13. Teaching. Any instructor who shall teach in any school, college or institution where members of the white and colored race are received and enrolled as pupils for instruction shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be fined… (Oklahoma).
  14. Wine and Beer. All persons licensed to conduct the business of selling beer or wine…shall serve either white people exclusively or colored people exclusively and shall not sell to the two races within the same room at any time (Georgia).

Jim Crow Laws by State (examples)  For more on the history of Jim Crow, visit Ferris University’s excellent site.


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