Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. These laws mandated separation between races in all public facilities in the states of the former Confederacy.
The laws were put into place, alleging “separate but equal” status for African Americans in public schools, public places such as restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains and public transportation. President Woodrow Wilson initiated the segregation of federal workplaces in 1913.
Facilities for African Americans were consistently inferior to those which were available to white Americans.
Segregation of public schools was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in the 1954 case, Brown v. Board of Education. In some states it took years to implement the integration and it was met with severe resistance.
Rosa Parks is fingerprinted by a police officer in Montgomery, Alabama, on Feb. 22, 1956, two months after refusing to give up her seat on a bus for a white passenger on Dec. 1, 1955. She was arrested with several others who violated segregation laws. Parks’ refusal to give up her seat led to a boycott of buses in December 1955, a tactic organized by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. AP
US and Confederate flags fly from a car parked on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill in Nashville, where Gov. Frank Clement met with a delegation of pro-segregationists on Jan. 24, 1956. Clement turned down a bid to lead a fight for continued racial segregation, saying he did not plan to interfere with local authorities and their decisions on such matters. Getty Images
Freedom Rider James Zwerg stands bleeding after an attack by white pro-segregationists at the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Montgomery, Alabama, on May 20, 1961. Zwerg remained in the street for over an hour after the beating, since “white ambulances” refused to treat him. Getty Images
Benny Oliver, a former Jackson, Mississippi, police officer, viciously kicks Memphis Norman, a black student who was waiting to be served at a segregated lunch counter. The rumor of possible civil rights actions in the town caused onlookers to cheer the beating. Getty Image
Johnny Gray, 15, punches a white student during a scuffle in Little Rock, Arkansas, on June 16, 1958. Johnny and his sister, Mary (standing behind him), were en route to their segregated school when the two white boys in the photo ordered them to get off the sidewalk. Bettmann Archives
Police officers O.M. Strickland and J.V. Johnson apply force in arresting Martin Luther King Jr. for loitering near a courtroom where one of his integration lieutenants was on the stand on Sept. 4, 1958. King claimed that he was beaten and choked by the arresting officers, while the police denied the charges. Getty Images
Police examine the wreckage of the newly desegregated Hattie Cotton grammar school, which was dynamited in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sept. 10, 1957. The entire east wall and four classrooms were demolished. The attack occurred after a single six-year-old black child was admitted at this school to the first grade. AP
Women and teenagers at William Franz Elementary School yell at police officers during a protest against the desegregation of the school, as three black youngsters attended classes at the school for the second day on Nov. 15, 1960. The sign on the far right reads: “All I Want for Christmas Is a Clean White School.” Bettmann Archives
A 7-year-old child in Ku Klux Klansman robes participates in a KKK rally on April 14, 1956. Getty Images
A group of students known as the Little Rock Nine form a study group after being prevented from entering Little Rock’s newly integrated Central High School on Sept. 13, 1957. Bettmann Archive
A group of young white boys harass the Baker family, the first black family to move into the all-white Delmar Village neighborhood of Folcroft, Pennsylvania, 1963. Getty Images
A teacher instructs a segregated class of black students at a poorly funded, one-room school in the backwoods of Georgia in 1941. Bettmann Archive
An unidentified white student slugs an effigy of a hanging black student outside Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Oct. 3, 1957, as nearly 75 students of the school walked out to protest integration. AP
An unruly mob protesting integration of the Clinton High School attacks a car full of black people who just happened to be passing through on Aug. 31, 1956. Bettmann Archive
Black citizens sit in the rear of the bus in compliance with South Carolina segregation law in April 1956. Getty Images
Buddy Trammell, Max Stiles, and Tommy Sanders, students at Clinton High School in Clinton, Tennessee, picket their school when it becomes the first state-supported school to integrate, on Aug. 27, 1956. AP
Counter-protesting against civil rights demonstrations, Edward R. Fields and James Murray, members of the National States Rights Party, hang an effigy of Martin Luther King Jr. outside the party’s headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama, on May 6, 1963. Bettmann Archive
Demonstrators outside of West End High School in Birmingham, Alabama, sing songs and cheer during an anti-desegregation protest on Sept. 10, 1963. Bettmann Archives
Demonstrators picket over lunch counter segregation on Nov. 1, 1960. Getty Images
Dr. and Mrs. Charles N. Atkins of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and their sons, Edmond, 10, and Charles, 3, pause for a glance at the Santa Fe Depot segregation sign on Nov. 25, 1955. AP Photo
Roy Lee Howlett, 14, stands beside a car painted with signs protesting the desegregation of Mansfield High School in Dallas on Aug. 31, 1956. Bettmann Archives
White tenants seeking to prevent black Americans from moving into the Sojourner Truth Homes, a federal governmental housing project, erected this sign in Detroit in 1942. Getty Images
David Isom, 19, broke the color line in one of this city’s segregated public pools on June 8, 1958, which resulted in officials closing the facility. Bettmann Archive