Jim Crow

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Fall 2010
Term Paper
The Strange Career of Jim Crow by Van Woodward is based on the time period surrounding the Civil Rights Movement. This book is an accurate account of events that occurred during this time. It shows how the 1896 US Supreme Court Ruling affected blacks and the obstacles they faced to overcome. This book shows how the rights of African Americans have evolved over time. Van Woodward did an excellent job illustrating the events of history with The Strange Career of Jim Crow and created a factual account of history that is still used in classrooms today.

The historical context in which this book was written surrounds the events that took place during the Civil Rights Movement. There were several influential legal cases involving race relations. One prominent court case was Plessy vs. Ferguson. This 1896 court case decided that states had the legal right to segregate public facilities. In 1899, the court ruled that schools could only be erected for white children.

Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas was one of the most important decisions made by the US Supreme Court. This ruling on May 17, 1954 overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson. This court case ruled that the segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. Van Woodward writes in this book “The court’s decision of 17 May was the momentous and far reaching for the century in civil rights. It reversed a constitutional trend started long before Plessy vs. Ferguson and it marked the beginning of the end of Jim Crowe” (Van Woodward, 147).

The historical evidence cited by Van Woodward was an accurate account of events. He used many resources helping him to write this unbiased factual book. Examples he used throughout this book include The Reconstruction of Southern Education, The Schools and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and The Ideology of White Supremacy are among the many sources that Van Woodward consulted. The Strange Career of Jim Crow by Van Woodward is an...
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