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jim crow laws Essay

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Life in America has been plagued by racial tension since its formation.   However, up until the Reconstruction period, it had not actually been verbalized.   During the years the Price family spent in the Congo on its mission trip, the racial issues they had been accustomed to made coexisting with the Congolese all the more difficult. The Jim Crow Laws divided people in a way they had not been before; they widened the gap that separated America by exacerbating segregation and making racism visual as well as mental for the Price family and those around them.
Before one can understand the full effect these laws had, he or she must know where these laws came from.   Many believe the term “Jim Crow” originated as a prewar minstrel caricature developed by a white entertainer by the name of Thomas D. Rice (Kent 1370).   Contrary to this popular belief, “Jim Crow” was most likely used to describe segregated institutions, mostly in the mid-1800s in the Northern states.   Towards the end of the 19th century, the term took on its more common meaning and was used to describe the Southern legal system of segregation (Wilson 214).   The Jim Crow Laws as they were known during the early 1900s actually stem from the Black Codes that were used to restrict former slaves’ rights and were overturned by the federal government during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War (Kent 1371).
One focal question concerning the Jim Crow Laws is whether or not they are constitutional.   Before the fourteenth amendment, no laws protected the rights of African-American citizens (States 83).   Unfortunately, loopholes in this amendment were tested by many persistent racists.   The Plessy vs. Ferguson trial of 1896 was one such case that concerned a train car reserved for whites only.   However, the Supreme Court ruled that so long as the facilities set aside for blacks were equally as well-kept as those for whites, the fourteenth amendment had not been violated (Garraty 642).   Later, in 1954 at...

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