April 19, 2012
“African Americans’ life during the twentieth century”
Twentieth century was the time when African Americans faced most of the troubles from the southern United States legislature and the white land owners. They experienced degradation, poverty and hardness living in the South’s countryside either in farms or in rural communities. White Dominated Blacks in south during this period of time. If this was the situation in the Southern countryside, what methods were taken by them to relegate African Americans as second class citizens? Southerners used Black Codes which brought a dividing line between whites and blacks using harsh methods, Jim Crow laws which were the discriminating laws against blacks, and Segregation which separated blacks from white in the society to relegate African Americans as second class citizens. The southern legislature introduced Black codes to the southern United States to create a dividing line between Whites and Blacks. John P. Carrier says, “The intent of the Legislation passed in 1866 was to reaffirm the inferior position that slaves and free Blacks had held in south and to regulate black labor.” As noted carrier, Black code was instituted in 1860s to repeat what had happened before in the history of United States. This Law not only discriminated Black slaves, but also the free Blacks that were living in that era. By establishing these laws in South, Blacks were rejected their right to vote and all other rights related to the government. Carrier quoted, “Blacks were not allowed to vote or hold office, they could not serve on justice, and they could only testify only in cases involving blacks.” These restrictions pushed Blacks as second class citizens because they didn’t have enough rights to say anything against or for government and other activities in the public. These laws that were established were more complex; therefore, it was mandated in more discriminating way and the punishments were severe. Black codes were also setup to separate blacks from white in public using severe measures like education laws, railroad laws, and other several of them. Carrier quoted, “Blacks were not allowed to hold office, they could not serve on juries, they could only testify only in cases involving other blacks, separated blacks’ accommodation in the railroad and excluded blacks from educational institutions.” As stated by historian Carrier, these laws victimized blacks in the public. One of the main discrimination was exclusion from education institution and public railroad even though other laws were severe. These relegated blacks’ second class citizens because they were denied whatever rights that could possibly help them grow. The main goal of the laws that excluded blacks from the education institution was to stop them from getting education that can be used against white. Another aspect that played a big role in lowering Blacks as second class citizen was Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow laws were primarily operated between 1877 and mid-1960s. Its main goal was to exclude Blacks from the white society. These laws were mandated in all the facilities in the public. Jim Crow laws specifically stated what blacks could and could not do in public and towards many whites. “A black male,” Stenson quoted, “could not offer his hand with a white male because it implied being socially equal and a black male couldn’t offer his hand to any white women because he risked being accused of rape.” These were not laws, but it was the way how Black Americans lived during the twentieth century. To regain the white superiority, they included whatever they can to discriminate African Americans. The law that specified that they cannot shake their hands with whites shows that they were discriminated even for touching a white person. If they didn’t follow these codes, the punishments were higher. This evidence shows that White landowners and others used these laws to...
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