Jim Crow Laws: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona and Arkansas Code, Colored, Constitution, Descendant, Felony, Intermarriage, Legislature, Mulatto, Negro, Nurse, Ordinance, Penal Code, Public Transportation, Railroads, Schools, Segregation, Separate But Equal, Slavery, Statute, Supreme Court, Voting, Waiting Rooms

Jim Crow Laws: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona and Arkansas [The editors of Americans All ] (c.1877 - c.1967) Code, Colored, Constitution, Descendant, Felony, Intermarriage, Legislature, Mulatto, Negro, Nurse, Ordinance, Penal Code, Public Transportation, Railroads, Schools, Segregation, Separate But Equal, Slavery, Statute, Supreme Court, Voting, Waiting Rooms


Background information is provided to put the Jim Crow laws in context and explain how minorities were treated prior to the Civil War. In a few cases, the dates of specific information also have been provided. Alabama enacted 27 Jim Crow segregation laws between 1865 and 1965: including six each against miscegenation and desegregated schools. Unlike other former Confederacy states, no laws were enacted during the Reconstruction period barring segregation. Miscegenation violations carried the harshest penalties. After the Brown decision, six segregation laws were passed.

Many of these entries came from an inactive website—www.jimcrowhistory.org—though much of the data previously posted on that website has been reproduced on other websites. To avoid repeating the source of information for these entries, we have added the symbol “#” at the end of each of them. Capitalization of words follows the original usage, and many of the entries have been edited for clarity.

1865: The Constitution stated that it was the duty of the general assembly to periodically enact laws prohibiting intermarriage between whites and blacks, or with persons of mixed blood, and to establish penalties. #

1866: The Penal Code contained the first of the state’s its anti-miscegenation statutes. #

1867: The State Code set penalties for intermarriage and cohabitation [Miscegenation] between blacks and whites. Penalties for failing to comply was confinement in the penitentiary at hard labor between two and seven years. Those who issued the license or performed such a ceremony could be fined from $100 to $1,000, or imprisoned for six months, or both. #

1875: The Alabama Constitution requires separate public schools for Black children. In 1878, 1901, 1927, 1940, and 1957, the state legislature will create laws to enforce this constitutional mandate. Source  

1883: The U.S. Supreme Court held in Pace v. Alabama (106 U.S.583) that anti-miscegenation laws were consistent with the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendments long as the punishments given to both white and black violators are the same. Source  

1891: A statute required railroads to provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races, providing two or more passenger cars for each passenger train, or by dividing the passenger cars by partitions to create separate accommodations. Conductors were given authority to assign passengers to the proper car. Law did not apply to white or colored passengers entering the state upon railroads who purchased their tickets in another state where a similar law was not in force. Persons who attempted to ride in the wrong railroad car would be fined $100. Railroad companies that failed to enforce the law would be fined up to $500; conductors could be fined as much as $100. Source   

1901: The Constitution declared that the legislature could never pass any law authorizing or legalizing "any marriage between any white person and a Negro, or descendant of a Negro." It also stated that separate schools to be provided for white and colored children. No child of either race to be permitted to attend a school of the other race and codify white supremacy by disfranchising Blacks, decreased home rule and established voter requirements that even many white men could not meet. Source  

1907: A State Code restated the 1867 constitutional provision prohibiting intermarriage and cohabitation between whites and blacks. Penalties remained the same. A political code adopted in the same year defined the term "Negro" to include "mulatto," which was noted as "persons of mixed blood descended from a father or mother from Negro ancestors, to the fifth generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation may have been a white person." Note: This code added two additional generations to the original 1867 definition of what constituted a "Negro" person. Source is: escholarship.org/content/qt5x65v6ch/qt5x65v6ch.pdf

1911: A Statue made it unlawful for any sheriff or jailer "to confine in the same room or apartment of any jail or prison white and Negro prisoners."  Source 

1915: A law made it unlawful for any white female nurse to nurse in wards or rooms in hospital, either public or private in which negro men are placed for treatment or be nursed. Source   

1927: A State Code required all schools to be segregated by race. #

1928: A State Code made Miscegenation a felony, classified all persons with any Negro blood as colored, and forbid the use by members of either race of toilet facilities in hotels or restaurants which were furnished to accommodate persons of the other race. #

1932: The Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began a study to record the natural history of syphilis in hopes of justifying treatment programs for blacks. It was called the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.” The study initially involved 600 black men – 399 with syphilis, 201 who did not have the disease. The study was conducted without the benefit of patients’ informed consent. In 1972, a panel found that the men had agreed freely to be examined and treated. However, there was no evidence that researchers had informed them of the study or its real purpose. In fact, the men had been misled and had not been given all the facts required to provide informed consent. The men were never given adequate treatment for their disease. Even when penicillin became the drug of choice for syphilis in 1947, researchers did not offer it to the subjects. Source

1940: A State Code prohibited intermarriage and cohabitation between whites and blacks or the descendant of any Negro. Penalty: Imprisonment in the penitentiary for two to seven years. Ministers and justices of the peace faced fines between $100 and $1,000 and could be imprisoned in the county jail for up to six months. In addition, County Boards of Education were required to provide free separate schools for white and colored children; it was unlawful to chain together white and black convicts or allow them to sleep together in the same cell; instructed commanded that separate waiting rooms be provided for blacks and whites as well as equal but separate accommodations on railroad cars. [The railroad provision did not apply to passengers entering Alabama from another state that did not have similar laws.] Source is: ALA. CONST., Art. 4, & 102; ALA. CODE, tit. 14,  && 360-61 (1940)

1945: A Statute required separate waiting rooms and ticket windows for the white and colored races as well as separate seating on buses. Penalty: Misdemeanor carrying a fine of $500. #

1945: The Constitution established voting qualifications to included being able to read and write, understand and explain any article of the U.S. Constitution. Electors had to be employed for the greater part of the 12 months preceding registration. #

1952: The City of Montgomery code required “every person operating a bus line in the city shall provide equal but separate accommodations for white people and negroes on his bus . . . and separate the white people from the negroes. Source 

1955: A Statute called for segregation on public transportation (public carriers). #

1956: The city of Huntsville, Ala., passed a municipal ordinance that set aside one day a week when Negroes could use the municipal golf course. #

1956: The Huntsville City Council passed a resolution that made it unlawful for white and blacks to play cards, dice, dominoes, checkers, pool, billiards, softball, basketball, baseball, football, golf, or track together. The resolution also applied to swimming pools and beaches. #