March 27, 2018
THE RESURRECTION OF JIM CROW
Richard P. Burton, Sr., Director
In the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court legitimized the “Jim Crow” system of segregation that had been imposed on Blacks in the decades following the Civil War. Despite the fact that segregation laws violated the 14th and 15th Amendments of the Constitution, the court circumvented these “Equal Protection” clauses with the fictitious doctrine of “Separate But Equal.”
Jim Crow laws were enacted in the United States for almost 100 years, from 1876 to 1965. The laws were responsible for what was called, “Separate but Equal,” a doctrine that demanded separate facilities for blacks and whites, from restaurants to restrooms to drinking fountains to schools and other public places. Jim Crow laws also carried stiff fines and fees, designed to keep blacks from voting. Starting in the 1930s, the NAACP began assembling data to prove that ‘Separate’ is not and never can be ‘Equal’. And the dilapidated buildings and tattered, out-dated textbooks of the under-funded Black schools testified to that inequality. But before NAACP lawyers could challenge segregation in the courts, there had to be courageous Black citizens willing to defy segregation customs and laws in order to create the cases for attorneys to argue. To violate the Jim Crow rules meant risking verbal abuse, being fired from your job, evicted from your home, the destruction of your business, brutal beatings, jail, and lynching. The Jim Crow laws of the early 1900’s have been resurrected in the form of the war on drugs, mandatory minimums, three strikes, and zero tolerance laws. Thirteen states, under Republican governance, have changed their voter registration laws, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and Texas, making voting and the restoration of civil rights more difficult. Thousands of African Americans, Hispanic and the poor within these states are banned from voting for life and denied other rights under our modern day system of Jim Crow. It’s critical that we challenge laws like life without parole, which continue to disenfranchise millions of Americans in this day and time.
“At no time do we condone wrongness on either side of the wall”.
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