Jim Crow Laws (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Jim Crow Laws emerged in southern states after the U.S. CIVIL WAR. First enacted in the 1880s by lawmakers who were bitter about their loss to the North and the end of SLAVERY, the statutes separated the races in all walks of life. The resulting legislative barrier to equal rights created a system that favored whites and repressed blacks, an institutionalized form of inequality that grew in subsequent decades with help from the U.S. Supreme Court. Although the laws came under attack over the next half century, real progress against them did not begin until the Court began to dismantle SEGREGATION in the 1950s. The remnants of the Jim Crow system were finally abolished in the 1960s through the efforts of the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.
The term "Jim Crow" laws evidently originated from a minstrel show character developed during the mid-nineteenth century. A number of groups of white entertainers applied black cork to their faces and imitated Negro dancing and singing routines. Such acts became popular in several northern cities. One of the performers reportedly sang a song with the lyrics, "Weel about and turn about and do jis so, Eb'ry time I weel about I jump Jim Crow." The moniker Jim Crow later became synonymous with the segregation laws....
(The entire section is 1234 words.)
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