To set the stage for the civil rights movement, you must first understand the environment of segregation in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. What was life like in Jim Crow America? Cut and paste this information into a new page in your Unit 8 Online ISN.
You and your partner are African Americans who have lived through the era of Jim Crow in American. Using the links provided in this activity, respond to the “oral history questions” in first person.

Right after the Civil War, the 14th Amendment was ratified. What did the 14th Amendment provide for African Americans? What does “due process” and “equal protection of the laws” mean? 14th LINK
The fourteenth amendment gave us blacks our rights. We were granted citizenship if we had been enslaved and we were also given liberties we had not had before we were freed from the slave owners. The amendment said that no state could make a law against us not giving us these rights. It also said anyone born in the United States was a citizen and no one could deprive us of this citizenship unless we went through the process of law. "Due process" means that we can not have our citizenship taken away unless we go to court through the law. "Equal protection of the laws" says that no state can make an exception or make other laws that contradict the fourteenth amendment.

Unfortunately, your equal rights were challenged by the Supreme Court in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. What do you remember about the facts, decision, and impact of this case? Plessy LINK
Plessy sat in the white section of the railroad. Whites said that was not right for a colored man to sit in the white section even though he was lighter in complexion. When Louisiana passed the Separate Car act a civil rights organization wanted to test the law with Plessy. Plessy purposely sat in the white section of the car and he was taken to jail. When the trial was finished the court ruled it constitutional to separate two races. Justice Brown said that showing a difference in two races will not hurt the equality between them. From this, people started to think that the separation of whites and blacks was ok as long as they were equal, but the black facilities were almost always much worse than the white facilities.

The laws developed in the South became known as Jim Crow laws. Who was this Jim Crow fellow? Did he write the laws? Jim Crow LINK
Thomas Rice heard a black man singing a song about Jim Crow. Rice decided to perform this song as Jim Crow because he was an actor himself. He used black makeup on stage to represent Jim Crow. "Jim Crow" was a grinning fool in his play and people began to use this as an insult against blacks. This was not a very bad insult to us blacks but it was still discrimination. But as more laws were passed about segregation, the laws that oppressed blacks started to be called Jim Crow laws. So no, Jim Crow did not write these segregation laws.

What are some specific examples of the Jim Crow laws from southern states? How did the laws affect you? Jim Crow Laws LINK 1 / Jim Crow Laws LINK 2 / Jim Crow Laws LINK 3
In Missouri my kids had to go to a separate free school only for colored children and no colored child could attend the all white schools. In Alabama the hospitals were segregated too. When my brother had to go to the hospital he was not allowed to be nursed by a white nurse along with the other colored patients in the hospital. My family is secluded in our neighboehood because we can not be seen talking or playing with the white folks in town. Everytime my family went out to eat, we had to go to the colored only resturants. Almost every aspect of our lives was segregated.

What did Jim Crow America look like in the 1900s? What are some images that can help explain the realities of the time? Jim Crow Images LINK 1 / Jim Crow Images LINK 2
There were signs everywhere saying no blacks allowed and colored only. the places where colored people were allowed were usually owned by colored people. There were colored water fountains and colored bathrooms. the places where blacks lived and worked in were much more dirty and decrepid than the white places. The colored malls were falling apart and very small compared to the white malls. Picture people concregaded in front of a colored city mall. Jim_crow.gif

What happened in the Scottsboro Case? How did it make you feel as an African American in the South? Scottsboro LINK
Nine colored boys got into a fight with other white boys on a train. They threw the white boys off of the train and were arrested. There were also two white women dressed as men on the train aswell. The nine boys were falsey accused of raping these women and a court trial arose. All were found guilty and all but one, who was the age of 12, was sentenced to death. This makes me feel aweful because boys could die for something they didn't do just because they were blacks. all of the colored people have to watch out for the white that want to hurt and harm us.

What do some of your friends and family say about life in Jim Crow America? (listen to one or two) Audio History LINK 1
My friend olivia Cherry says that her name represented the rights and freedoms she had. She belived that no one could take thses liberties away from her because she was a citizen of the US.
Edwilda Isaac, another friend of mine, said that many people made rude stereotypes about blacks all o f the time. Evenher schooolmates made up stereotypes and lies about us.