Jim Crow, Purpose Then and Now

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Barring black Americans from a status equal to that of white Americans, Jim Crow was established as a system of segregation and discrimination in the United States of America. The United States Supreme Court had a crucial role in the establishment, maintenance, and, eventually, the end of Jim Crow. The Supreme Court's sanctioning of segregation (by upholding the "separate but equal" language in state laws) in the Plessey v. Ferguson case in 1896 and the refusal of the federal government to enact anti-lynching laws meant that black Americans were left to their own devices for surviving Jim Crow (Davis). In many instances African Americans tried to avoid the engaging of Caucasians in order to avoid possible conflict. However, in doing so African Americans were at the mercy of creating their own education systems and community support groups. This paper will address why Jim Crow laws were justified, how the segregation and discrimination of Jim Crow laws reinforced inequality and racial prejudice, and the impact of segregation on the African American community both past and present. Although many scholars would say that it was unclear as to why Jim Crow laws were implemented during the post-Reconstruction era, history tells us that it was a response to the breakdown of traditional barriers between white and black Americans and fact that many white Americans felt threatened by the progress of African Americans economically during the same period (Davis). White Americans believed that African Americans represented an inferior and ultimately dangerous race that needed to be contained and segregated from mixing with the white race. It is said that the founder of Jim Crow laws intent was discrimination and validated the laws using both religion and science to justify his prejudices of African Americans. Jim Crow laws reinforced inequality and racial prejudice in far too many ways to list for such an assignment as this. Among the most obvious was that African...
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