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18 - Jim Crow

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Darren Reid

on 3 November 2014

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Transcript of 18 - Jim Crow

The Age of Jim Crow
Framing Question
Was the Jim Crow South a reconstructed version of the antebellum South or was it, in fact, something new?
Share Cropping
In the aftermath of the Civil War how was land to be distributed and the economy run?
Share cropping emerged as a solution
African American families had their own piece of land. At the end of the year they would give their land lord (often a former master) a portion, perhaps half, of their harvest
Cash poor, share croppers relied on credit to purchase the necessary clothes, seeds, and tools
Interest rates were extortionate - trapped many former slaves into debt cycles from which they could not escape
Share Croppers v Tenant Farmers
Share croppers had nothing to offer but their labour
Tenant farmers had some type of property of their own. Perhaps a mule or line of credit which allowed them some degree of freedom or autonomy from their landlord
The Bourbon Redeemers
They 'redeemed' the South from Yankee (Carpetbagger) misrule
They saw Reconstruction as a period when outsiders ruled through the support of African American votes
They aimed to rebuild the South with the antebellum era as its model...
BUT, things had change and the bourbon redeemers adapted to that change, creating a 'New South' in which new industries were able to blossom alongside old style racial hierarchies. The 'New South' emerged in the 1880s
The racial order could no longer be built around the institution of slavery; it was rebuilt instead around the laws of 'Jim Crow'
Dealing with the Black Vote - The Legal Solution
1890s saw white vote splintering. This gave African Americans the balance of democratic power in some areas
: The 15th amendment made it impossible to ban African Americans from voting outright
: The 15th amendment made it impossible to discriminate based on race - it did not make it impossible to discriminate based upon other factors
The Mississippi Model
Residency Requirement
At least two years in the state, one year as a resident in the voting district
Voting Bans for Petty Crimes
Allows police to selectively target those they don't want to vote
Poll taxes to be paid by February 1st
Plenty of time for receipts to be lost
Literacy Tests
Highly subjective, giving the person administering the test a lot of leeway to grant -or deny- the right to vote
Dealing with the Black Vote - The Extra-Legal Solution
Lynching had been a feature prior to Jim Crow - and they were common in some other areas, particularly the West
But in the South they were typically used in a highly discriminatory manner
5,000 people are lynched between 1890 and 1950
Sent a message to whole communities.
One lynching could go a long way
Something to Think About...
To what extent was the Supreme Court responsible for the rise of Jim Crow?
Full transcript