20 May, 2010

Before It Was Banned...It Was Mandatory

It seems like a good time to mention that there has never been a period in U.S. history during which racial discrimination was neither mandatory nor illegal. And this is not an oblique reference to Affirmative Action or any type of "reverse" discrimination. Most Jim Crow laws were ended by the Civil Rights Act of 1964--effectively banning the same discriminatory practices that were heretofore mandated by law in some places.

A sampling of Jim Crow laws (1880's-1960's):
Buses: All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races. Alabama

Barbers: No colored barber shall serve as a barber [to] white women or girls. Georgia

Housing: Any person...who shall rent any part of any such building to a negro person or a negro family when such building is already in whole or in part in occupancy by a white person or white family, or vice versa when the building is in occupancy by a negro person or negro family, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five ($25.00) nor more than one hundred ($100.00) dollars or be imprisoned not less than 10, or more than 60 days, or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. Louisiana

Lunch Counters: No persons, firms, or corporations, who or which furnish meals to passengers at station restaurants or station eating houses, in times limited by common carriers of said passengers, shall furnish said meals to white and colored passengers in the same room, or at the same table, or at the same counter. South Carolina
More examples here.

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