What was Jim Crow?

What was Jim Crow?, history assignment help

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What was Jim Crow? Would the answer to the previous question serve also to explain the establishment of Jim Crow in the South?

The origin of “Jim Crow” dates back before the Civil War. In the 1830’s, a white actor named Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice became famous for performing minstrel routines with his stage name of Jim Crow, where he played a clumsy black slave. Rice donned black face and performed comedy and songs in a stereotypical slave dialect (Woodward). Rice stated that he overheard an elderly black man singing a song called “Jump Jim Crow” and adopted the name on stage. The show’s popularity began the derogatory term for African Americans and their segregated lives (Woodward).

At the end of the Reconstruction era in 1877, the South began enforcing racial segregation, which lasted until the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s (Haws). Southern legislatures passed laws that separated whites from “persons of color”. The anti-black laws gained the term of Jim Crow laws. They called for the restriction of blacks in public transportation and schools (Henretta). In 1896, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of “Plessy vs. Ferguson”, which lead to different railroad cars in Louisiana. “Separate but different” was made famous by this decision, which lead to segregation in public places in the South (King). African Americans had restrictions on their voting rights, were banned from interracial relationships and were separated in restaurants, schools, churches, transportation and any other public place.

The Jim Crow laws and the Jim Crow way of life was primarily adopted in the southern and border states. The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution granted African Americans the same legal protection as whites and President Abraham Lincoln pressed for equal rights before his assassination. This further angered the South. White democrats regained their political power in every southern state and began segregating blacks.

Works Cited

Haws, Robert, ed. The Age of Segregation: Race Relations in the South, 1890–1945 University Press of Mississippi, 1978. Retrieved May 8, 2017.

Henretta, James A. America: A Concise History, Volume 2, 6th Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017. [Bookshelf Online].

King, Desmond. Separate and Unequal: Black Americans and the US Federal Government. 1995, page 3.

Woodward, C. Vann and McFeely, William S. The Strange Career of Jim Crow. 2001, p. 6. Retrieved May 8, 2017.


Why can we say that technological innovation was just as significant in building American cities as it was in driving American industrialization?

Technological innovations were the building blocks of American cities. Innovations came first, which led to industry, which led to jobs, which attracted people. As more and more people flocked to these areas, the modern American city was born. The population growth sparked new construction for housing, which created more jobs, which drew more people. Cities like New York City are a good example of this snowball effect and can be seen by reviewing the population growth history. With a pretty steady rate, from 1870 to 1880 the population grew at a rate of 26,400 people per year. Fast forward a decade later after advances in electrical innovation and witness the resulting spike in population growth. From 1890 to 1900 the population grew at a rate of 192,190 people per year (NYC.gov, n.d.).

It would be difficult to list all the innovations that played a part in the development of American cities, but a few are arguably the most influential. The steam-powered locomotive made transportation faster and cheaper, which drove the expansion into the West. Innovations in electricity brought the telegraph, and later the telephone, which allowed for instant communication between cities. Edison’s innovations in electricity brought the era of the light bulb, which allowed cities to turn night into day (Henretta, p. 556). The grid of wires used to power these lightbulbs in streetlights eventually led to residential homes being wired for electricity. It could be argued that New York City earned its nickname, “The city that never sleeps,” because it was one of the first cities that was constantly lit up with electric signs and lights. The way electricity drove even more innovation created the modern tempo of the American city (Henretta, p. 556).



Henretta, James A. (2016). America: A Concise History, Volume 2, 6th Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s. VitalBook file.

NYC.Gov. (n.d.). Total and Foreign-born Population New York City, 1790 – 2000. Retrieved from https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/data-maps/nyc-population/historical-population/1790-2000_nyc_total_foreign_birth.pdf


Why was the American city not capable of doing a better job of protecting the environment and providing adequate housing for the poor?

I chose to discuss why the American city was not capable of doing a better job of protecting the environment and provide adequate housing for the poor. The”rapid growth of industrialization along with the massive immigration were contributing factors to not providing adequate housing and the destruction of the environment.Cities provided industrialization, new sources of energy, production, mass transit, steel making and new markets, which attracted the mass amounts of immigrants.. These people had little choice in where they lived because there focus was on making money. Cities like Chicago and New York were overpopulated and failed to provide basic services needed like “public toilets overflowing into the streets, horse manure, factories, and slaughter houses disposing of their waste into the same waterway that residents received their water supply. The unsanitary conditions from this caused contagious diseases like tuberculous, pneumonia which spreaded quickly. As the reform fought to improve the situation, Upton Sinclair wrote to expose these conditions, which angered millions of consumers, and Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, Federal Meat Inspection Act, that same year in 1906″(humboldt)

According to Dr. Gayle-Olsen-Raymer, this era was known as the “Gilded Age of shameful corruption of American politics.The GOLD, which suggested power,and the BASE medal was- the consequence of industry’s progress. Machines replaced labored hands, which led to the mass production of goods. The North and Northwest ‘s rapid growth, factored the proximity to water and industrialization, while the Southern growth, meant better agriculture.”

Henretta refers to the rise of big businesses and innovations, along with the mass railroad expansions, as the underlying force to unexpected economic decrease. Many entrepreneur’s capitalized on vulnerable humans who got taken advantage of by their unskilled labor. Andrew Carnegie, from age twelve began as an errand boy for the railroad and achieved success in the steel industry, even professed that “new machinery enabled him to replace skilled laborers.”(Henretta,p.498).

In that era, the priority for many people was to find work, make money, and provide the essential ‘s needed to live. Men would go where there was work, not thinking of what damage was being done to their health and certainly not considering what was being done to the environment.


work cited

01,2017.Accessed 01,2017. Users.humboldt.edu

Henretta, James, A (2016).America; A Concise History, Volume 2, 6th Edition, Bedford/St. Martin’s.VitalBookfile