1860s: Freedom at Last | 1870s: Representation | 1880s: Repression | 1890s: End of an Era | The Biographies | Conclusions


The 1890s: Jim Crow Laws


By the 1880s, the constitutional rights guaranteed to African Americans in the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments had begun to be curtailed. Only three African Americans were elected to the Texas Legislature during the 1890s. Segregation or separate-but-equal status for African-Americans gradually became the norm. In 1891, the 22nd Legislature passed the most famous of the state's segregation statutes. It became known as the Jim Crow law. The statute required separate railroad coaches for African Americans. According to Historian C. Vann Woodward writing in the 1960s, "The origin of the term 'Jim Crow' applied to Negroes is lost in obscurity. Thomas D. Rice wrote a song and dance called 'Jim Crow' in 1832, and the term had become an adjective [applied to African Americans] by 1838. The first example of 'Jim Crow Law' listed by the Dictionary of American English is dated 1904. But the expression was used by writers in the 1890s. . . ."

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Page last modified: April 22, 2015