African-American Perspectives
The Progress of a People
Segregation and Violence Solving the Race Problem Contributions to the Nation

SESSION 1: Protection of the American Citizen | Mob-violence and Anarchy, North and South

Session Topic
Protection of American Citizens
Image: caption follows
Negro expulsion from railway car, Philadelphia. Artist unknown. Wood engraving, in Illustrated London News, September 27, 1856. LC-USZ62-45698.
Federal efforts to ensure the rights of African-Americans in the South came to an end in 1877. Over the following four decades, without significant objection from the courts or the federal government, white supremacists enacted "Black Laws" which imposed strict segregation. Schools, churches, restaurants, hotels, public transportation, rest rooms, and water fountains were labeled "white only" or "colored." In hospitals, blacks could not nurse whites, nor could whites nurse blacks. Legal obstacles were erected and terrorism used to keep African-Americans from voting: in Louisiana in 1896 there were 130,334 blacks registered to vote; by 1905 only 1,342 were registered.
Pamphlet Excerpt
from "The Black Laws" by Bishop B. W. Arnett

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Audio Transcription:

Members [of the Ohio House of Representatives] will be astonished when I tell them that I have traveled in this free country for twenty hours without anything to eat; not because I had no money to pay for it, but because I was colored. Other passengers of a lighter hue had breakfast, dinner and supper. In traveling we are thrown in "jim crow" cars, denied the privilege of buying a berth in the sleeping coach. This monster caste stands at the doors of the theatres and skating rinks, locks the doors of the pews in our fashionable churches, closes the mouths of some of the ministers in their pulpits which prevents the man of color from breaking the bread of life to his fellowmen.

This foe of my race stands at the school house door and separates the children, by reason of color, and denies to those who have a visible admixture of African blood in them the blessings of a graded school and equal privileges...We call upon all friends of Equal Rights to assist us in this struggle to secure the blessings of untrammeled liberty for ourselves and prosperity.

SESSIONS: Segregation and Violence | Solving the Race Problem | Contributions to the Nation

The Progress of a People

African-American Perspectives