Was There Segregation In The North

How did segregation in the North differ from segregation in the South?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two types of segregation practiced against the African Americans in the North and South, namely de jure and de facto. De jure segregation involved the use of laws to enforce segregation policies, while in de facto segregation, the law was not used to enforce segregation policies but segregation still existed. In the South, de jure segregation was practiced whereby both the police and the legal system enforced segregation. The infamous Jim Crow laws ensured racial segregation in virtually all spheres of public life including education, voting, and transportation, among others. Even though such laws were absent in the North, racial discrimination was still present in almost all aspects of life including housing, employment, and education. The unending suffering sustained by the Jim Crow laws eventually led to the formation of the Civil Rights Movements to fight for equal rights and treatment for African Americans. Eventually, these laws were overturned by landmark court rulings like Brown v Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in schools.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The major difference between segregation in these two regions is that segregation in the North was de factowhile segregation in the South was de jure.

In the North, there was not much segregation of public facilities (like busses) as there was in the South.  But there was (and is) a great deal of residential segregation.  This segregation was not caused by law.  Instead, it was caused by things like real estate agents steering blacks into black neighborhoods and landlords refusing to rent apartments in white areas to black people.  Through such informal methods, segregation was maintained in many cities in the North even though there were no laws requiring it.  

royalcourtier | Student

It is important to distinguish between residential segregation, and the segregation of facilities.

There was no legal segregation of places of residence in the south. From 1890 to 1965 there was segregation laws with respect to public facilities.

In the north there were no segregation laws with respect to public facilities. However there were many local rules and restrictions which resulted in residential segregation. Many developments banned non-whites. These private codes still remain in effect in many places, though they may not perhaps be enforced in practice.


gsenviro | Student

The "informal" or "de facto" segregation of the North differed from the "by law" or "de jure" segregation of South. 

In the North, the law was the same for everyone, however, discrimination was informally carried out. Public places such as transit (bus, train, etc.), accommodation (hotels, motels, etc.), restaurants, etc. could not stop anybody legally from patronizing the facility. However, blacks could be told that they were not welcome. The main segregation was evident in housing and school systems. White neighborhoods would not have any house either for purchase or rent to a non-white client, irrespective of his purchasing power. The agents would not show black people the property in white neighborhoods. Since schools were in the vicinity of residential areas, they were segregated too.

In the South, black people were second class citizens by law. Segregation by law was eliminated by a series of judgments by the Supreme Court.