On this day, commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I revisit the offensive typographic signs of the Jim Crow South, which signifies the legacy of American segregation.
Jim Crow was a character in an old comic song revived by Daddy Rice, a white comedian who used Crow as a tool to caricature and insult black people.
Jim Crow was also the name of the racial caste system that operated primarily, but not exclusively, in southern and border states, between 1877 and the mid-1960s. Moreover, it was the name given to a series of rigid anti-Black laws, which relegated African Americans to the status of second class citizens. Jim Crow represented the legitimization of anti-Black racism.
As historyonthenet.com notes:
In a bid to stop black Americans from being equal, the southern states passed a series of laws known as Jim Crow laws which discriminated against blacks and made sure that they were segregated (treated unequally) from whites.
Blacks were excluded from all newspapers and trading. Negroes gradually lost jobs in government, which they gained after the Civil War.
Whites owned the land, the police, the government, the courtrooms, the law, the armed forces, and the press. The political system denied blacks the right to vote.
Murders were conducted in secret and in public by white men. The blacks were harassed and abused, physically and verbally. These violent acts became a part of their life.
Signs were put up to separate facilities saying “whites only” and “colored” or “Negroes” appearing on parks, toilets, waiting rooms, theatres, and water fountains.