Jim Crow and today’s relevance

segregation drinking fountain

When the topic of race relations comes up, the knee-jerk reaction is to immediately go to slavery. Now while slavery was extremely damaging far too often it is pushed to the side with many seeing it as an event that happened to long ago.

The issue of Jim Crow laws have been studied at length, however, in common discussion it is overlooked as far as its long lasting effects that reach people even today. Jim Crow in American history began in the mid1800’s. During the reconstitution period after the civil war liberated blacks were now protected under the federal law as freemen. As the political structure of the south began to change, along with blacks being harassed and attacked to prevent them from voting, Jim Crow laws were created the segregate blacks from the state population.

Over the next century blacks were prevented from voting by adding poll taxes and literacy tests. Blacks were segregated in schools, places of business and transportation. There were thousands of beatings, lynches and burning of black owned property.  Alongside the normal effects one would endure under these conditions, one topic not talked about is the effect on the creative spirit. Although there were a number of inventions and patents created by blacks during the Jim Crow era, many more were denied and even stolen from African Americans.

The effect of Jim Crows laws should not be looked upon as an excuse for any failings, but as an understanding of the achievement of those who persevered and contributed to America during those times. Those that rose about the hatred and restriction should be an inspiration to us all and we should look back on their stories to motivate the people of today.