Jim Crow Laws were a set of discriminatory laws that were enacted in the late 19th century, primarily in the southern United States. These laws enforced racial segregation by establishing separate facilities for African Americans and whites and prohibiting interracial marriage. Jim Crow Laws also excluded Black people from voting, public transportation, restaurants, hotels, and other public places. In addition to institutionalized racism, these laws created economic inequality as well as psychological trauma for those affected by them. The origin of the term Jim Crow is disputed but it is believed to come from an early minstrel show character named Jim Crow who was portrayed by white men in blackface makeup. This character became associated with oppressive legislation after Reconstruction ended in 1877; when Southern states began passing laws that discriminated against African Americans and other minorities. In 1896, the U.S Supreme Court case Plessey v Ferguson upheld state-mandated segregation under the separate but equal” doctrine which allowed for discrimination against nonwhites through legal means until 1954 when Brown v Board overturned this decision forcing desegregation of public schools. Even though Jim Crow laws had been outlawed decades prior many parts of society remained segregated even into modern times due to systemic racism embedded into our culture since its inception making it difficult to undo years of oppression no matter how hard we try today. Overall Jim Crow Laws are considered one of America’s most damaging legacies as they have impacted generations before us leaving lasting scars on our nation’s history that continue to shape our future today both socially and politically.

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