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. Segregation laws in Kansas dealt primarily with education. The state constitution of 1859 specified separate African American schools. Soon the Kansas legislature created county school districts in which African Americans could attend white schools if no separate institution existed.
1879: After a wave of about 8,000 blacks from southern states moved to Kansas, the Kansas legislature enacted a law giving first-class cities (cities of more than 15,000 people) the authority to establish segregated elementary and junior high schools. Secondary schools were segregated only in Wyandotte County. African Americans challenged segregated schools, but the Kansas Supreme Court upheld the segregation statute. Source
1903: William Reynolds, an African-American, sued after his son was refused a seat in an all-white Topeka school. Reynolds sued Topeka, but the policy of segregation was upheld by the Kansas Supreme Court, Kansas Supreme Court, Case #13140. Source
1951: Topeka was a Jim Crow town in some respects, but not others. Blacks and whites did not have separate waiting room at train or bus stations, and blacks were not required to sit in the back of buses. On the other hand, the Gage Park swimming pool was white only, and many of the local businesses (hotels, restaurants, movie theaters) discriminated against blacks. It was extremely difficult for blacks to land well-paying jobs. High schools and junior high schools in Topeka were integrated, but elementary schools were not. Topeka operated eighteen elementary schools for whites and four for blacks. Topeka High, although having an integrated student body in 1951, had two basketball teams, one all white ("Trojans") and one all black ("Ramblers"). The school also maintained separate tennis, golf, swimming, wrestling, and cheerleading teams, as well as separate pep clubs. Blacks and whites had separate student governing bodies and generally sat at separate cafeteria tables. Source
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. In 1792, it was admitted the Union and the first state constitution to establish the legality of slavery. In 1798-1799, the law concerning “Slaves, Free Negroes, Mulattos, and Indians” and second Kentucky Constitution change status of free people of color by placing limitations on their rights, including voting and self-defense. Some cities and counties impose additional limitations. In Kentucky, slavery was not abolished by the Emancipation Proclamation since it did not secede from the Union.
Typical of most border states, Kentucky passed 17 segregation laws after the Civil War. Beginning in 1866, a miscegenation law was passed that carried a felony penalty with imprisonment in the state penitentiary up to five years. A 1909 statute called for the establishment of an institution to care for black deaf mutes, with the provision that the two races would be "kept entirely separate and distinct from each other." No anti-segregation laws were passed before 1948. A miscegenation statute was still in effect in 1955.
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.
1866: A Miscegenation Statute prohibited whites from marrying any Negro or any descendant of any Negro to the third generation inclusive. Penalty: Felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state penitentiary up to five years. Another Statute gave school district trustees the right to create separate schools for black children. #
1873: An education Statute made it unlawful for a black child to attend a white school, and the reverse. "No colored school shall be located within one mile of a white school, except in cities and towns, where it may not be within six hundred feet." #
1890: A Statute mandated railway companies to provide equal but separate accommodations for white and colored passengers. Penalty: Passengers or conductors not complying with the law subject to a fine of $25 or imprisonment for 20 days. Officers and directors of railway companies that fail to comply guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined between $100 and $500. Law did not apply to streetcars. #
1891: An education Statute made it unlawful for black and white children to attend the same schools. Source
1892: A Statute required railroads to provide separate coaches for white and colored passengers. Signs must be posted stating the race for each car. Penalty: Railway companies could be fined from between $500 to $1,500. Conductors who failed to enforce the law were to be fined from $50 to $100. #
1893: A Statute made marriage prohibited between a white person and a Negro or mulatto. #
1894: A Statute required railroad depots to provide equal but separate waiting rooms for the white and colored races. "No person shall occupy the wrong room." Law must be posted in a conspicuous place. Penalty: Persons who insist on entering the improper place may be fined $25 or imprisoned up to 30 days. Agents failing to enforce the law guilty of misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $25 to $50. #
1894: A Statute made Intermarriage between white persons and persons of color prohibited. #
1898: The Constitution’s General Assembly was authorized to establish free public schools for the white and colored races. #
1902: A Statute required that all streetcars must provide separate but equal accommodations. Penalty: Passengers or conductors not complying could receive a fine of $25 or imprisonment up to 30 days. A railway company that refused to comply could receive a fine of $100, or imprisonment between 60 days and six months. #
1904: A Statute (the Day Law) made it unlawful to maintain or operate any college, school or institution where persons of the white and Negro races are both received as pupils. The law did not prohibit private schools or colleges from maintaining a separate and distinct branch, in a different locality, not less than 25 miles apart, for the education exclusively of one race or color. Penalty: Violators fined $1,000. # The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the statute in Berea College v. Kentucky, (211 U.S. 45). Source
1908: A Statute made it unlawful for whites and blacks to buy and consume alcohol on the same premises. Penalty: Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine between $50 to $500, or imprisonment in the parish prison or jail up to two years. #
1908: A Statute made concubinage between the Caucasian or white race and any person of the Negro or black race is a felony. Penalty: Imprisonment from one month to one year, with or without hard labor. #