How did segregation limit social mobility in the Jim Crow South?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Segregation in the South during the days of the Jim Crow laws made social mobility next to impossible. The Jim Crow laws were based on the Supreme Court case of Plessy v Ferguson. This case said it was acceptable to separate by race as long as the public facilities were equal. As a result, throughout the South, there were separate schools, drinking fountains, railroad cars, and seating sections on buses just to name a few examples of segregation. To see more examples of segregation by state, please click here.

 It was virtually impossible to break this code of separation. If black people sat in the wrong section of a bus, they would be arrested. If black people tried to eat at a restaurant that only served whites, there could be violence or an arrest. It was extremely rare to see black and white people mingling together at any public event or facility in the South while the Jim Crow laws were legal. This just wasn’t an accepted as a way of living in the South during this time period. As a result, social mobility rates for African Americans were very low.

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