Jim Crow’s Disturbing History In Photos

Published December 19, 2014
Updated June 13, 2019

Far from signifying the end of slavery and racism, the Civil War's finish only initiated a new wave of discrimination: Jim Crow.

Mom and apple pie are like baseball and the Cuban blockade—traditional American institutions that define us as a people and give our history much of its unique look and feel. But America has other, less savory traditions, and one of the worst—sadly, not the worst—was segregation.

The name “Jim Crow” was first used for a stock character in depressingly popular minstrel shows from around 1830 to the 1940s. After the Civil War and the attendant ratification of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, which officially made everybody equal, the name was applied to a set of laws that excluded nonwhites from mainstream society and created a primarily black underclass that was kept in its place via a nationwide campaign of bullying, intimidation, and blood-curdling violence.

Everything in this slideshow is horrible, and if it disturbs you—good. Don’t let it happen again.

Jim Crow Freedman's School
Jim Crow Reunited Family
Jim Crow Freedman's School Cabin
Jim Crow Voting Rights
Jim Crow’s Disturbing History In Photos
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Check out "New Jim Crow" author Michelle Alexander's lecture to see how Jim Crow lives on today:

Richard Stockton
Richard Stockton is a freelance science and technology writer from Sacramento, California.