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. The best way to describe Jim Crow in Rhode Island is that they didn’t burn crosses on peoples’ lawns but would justify acts by saying, “we have always done things this way . . . It is that tradition of Jim Crow as opposed to Jim Crow in your face. Quote from Keith Stokes. Racist policies and practices created deep inequities in cities like Providence. Despite being a northern state, Black people in Rhode Island faced significant racial discrimination, leading one longtime community organizer to refer to it as the “Mississippi of New England.” Racism played a role in the city’s development decisions. For example, during a 1950s highway development project, officials chose routes that favored affluent white residents and reinforced segregation. Source
1872: A miscegenation State Code prohibited intermarriage. Penalty: $1,000 fine, or up to six months' imprisonment. Source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jim_Crow_law_examples_by_state#RhodeIsland
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. The Constitution of 1865, passed only a few months after the Civil War ended, failed to grant African-Americans the right to vote. It also retained racial qualifications for the legislature. Consequently, black people had no power to combat the unfair laws. Some of the Black Codes were: No person of color shall migrate into and reside in this state, unless, within twenty days after his arrival within the same, he shall enter into a bond with two freeholders as sureties; Servants shall not be absent from the premises without the permission of the master; Servants must assist their masters "in the defense of his own person, family, premises, or property; No person of color could become an artisan, mechanic, or shopkeeper unless he obtained a license from the judge of the district court–a license that could cost $100 or more. Source
The laws forced African Americans to attend separate schools, use separate water fountains, and separate bathrooms. A “poll tax” prevented people from voting, while literacy tests and the grandfather clause further prevented African Americans from voting. In Charleston, Jim Crow laws prevented African Americans from sitting along the Battery. In essence, the laws controlled and confined every part of African American life–and enforced white supremacy. Source
Many of these entries came from a website (www.jimcrowhistory.org) that is no longer active on the Internet. Data from that site (either individual entries or the entire list) has been reproduced on multiple websites. To avoid repetition on listing this information on each entry, we have added the symbol “#” at the end of the entry, rather than [Source]. Capitalization of words follows original usage, and many have been edited for purposes of clarity.
1865: A Statute prohibited marriage between a white person and a person of color. #
1866: A Statute upheld 1865 law prohibiting intermarriage. #
1879: A Statute made marriage between a white person and an Indian, Negro, mulatto, hybrid, or half-breed shall be null and void. Penalty: Misdemeanor, fined a minimum of $500, or imprisoned for not less than twelve months, or both. Ministers who performed such marriages faced misdemeanor charges, subject to the same penalty. In 1895, the legislature will amend the state constitution to reflect this statute. Source
1895: A Statute prohibited marriage between a white person with a Negro or hybrid, and or a person who had one-eighth or more Negro blood. #
1895: The State Constitution is amended to read, "Separate schools shall be provided for children of the white and colored races, and no child of either race shall ever be permitted to attend a school for children of the other race." In addition, Article 6 of Section 6 is rewritten to assert that each county in which a lynching occurs may be subject to a fine of $2,000 per death. Such a measure reveals that this type of murder is common throughout the state. Similar laws will be passed in 1908 and again in 1932. Source
1896: Statute declared that it was unlawful for pupils of one race to attend schools provided for persons of another race. #
1898: A Statute required all railroads to provide separate first-class coaches for the accommodation of white and colored passengers. Penalty: Railroad employees who violated the law were liable to a fine from $300 to $500. Section 6 of the law noted that it was legal for all persons paying second-class fare to ride in a second-class car. #
1900: Amended the act of 1898, repealing section six. The new law stated that railroads were not required to have second-class coaches. Penalty: Employees violating the law faced misdemeanor charges punishable by a fine between $25 and $100. Passengers who refused to sit in their assigned car were guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined from $25 to $100. #
1900: Created a law stating that railroads were required to furnish separate apartments for white and colored passengers only on passenger trains, not on freight trains. #
1903: Amended 1900 law stating that railroads were required to furnish separate apartments for white and colored passengers only on passenger trains, not on freight trains. #
1905: Authorized streetcars to separate the races in their cars. Penalty: Conductors who failed to enforce the law could be fined up to $100 or imprisoned for up to 30 days for each offense. #
1906: "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." Penalty: Misdemeanor, could be fined from $25 to $100, or imprisoned up to 30 days. Source is: Source is Wolfe, Samuel Marion; et al. (1922). Code of Laws of South Carolina 1922, Vol.2. South Carolina: R.L. Bryan Company and the State Company.
1906: Electric railways outside of the corporate limits of cities and towns shall have authority to separate the races in their cars, and the conductors in charge of said cars are hereby authorized and directed to separate the races in said cars under their charge and control. Source is Wolfe, Samuel Marion; et al. (1922). Code of Laws of South Carolina 1922, Vol.2. South Carolina: R.L. Bryan Company and the State Company.
1932: "Any circus or other such traveling show exhibiting under canvas or out of doors for gain shall maintain two main entrances, and one shall be for white people and the other entrance shall be for colored people, and such main entrances shall be plainly marked "For White People," and the other entrance shall be marked "For Colored People," and all white persons attending such show or traveling exhibition other than those connected with the said show shall pass in and out of the entrance provided for white persons, and all colored persons attending such show or traveling exhibition shall pass in and out of the entrance provided for colored persons.
1932: A Statute required racially segregated schools. Source is: Wolfe, Samuel Marion; et al. (1922). Code of Laws of South Carolina 1922, Vol.2. South Carolina: R.L. Bryan Company and the State Company.