Jim Crow Laws: A Sample From Various States
From the 1880s into the 1960s, most American states enforced segregation through "Jim Crow" laws (so called after a black character in minstrel shows). From Delaware to California, and from North Dakota to Texas, many states (and cities, too) could impose legal punishments on people for consorting with members of another race. The most common types of laws forbade intermarriage and ordered business owners and public institutions to keep their black and white clientele separated.
Amateur Baseball: Georgia—It shall be unlawful for any amateur white baseball team to play baseball on any vacant lot or baseball diamond within two blocks of a playground devoted to the Negro race, and it shall be unlawful for any amateur colored baseball team to play baseball in any vacant lot or baseball diamond within two blocks of any playground devoted to the white race.
Barbers: Georgia—No colored barber shall serve as a barber [to] white women or girls.
Bathroom Facilities, Male: Alabama—Every employer of white or negro males shall provide for such white or negro males reasonably accessible and separate toilet facilities.
Bi-racial Children: Maryland—Any white woman who shall suffer or permit herself to begot with child by a negro or mulatto . . . shall be sentenced to the penitentiary for not less than eighteen months.
The Blind: Louisiana—The board of trustees shall . . . maintain a separate building . . . on separate ground for the admission, care, instruction, and support of all blind persons of the colored or black race.
Burial: Georgia—The officer in charge shall not bury, or allow to be buried, any colored persons upon ground set apart or used for the burial of white persons.
Buses: Alabama—All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races.
Child Custody: South Carolina—It shall be unlawful for any parent, relative, or other white person in this State, having the control or custody of any white child, by right of guardianship, natural or acquired, or otherwise, to dispose of, give or surrender such white child permanently into the custody, control, maintenance, or support, of a negro.
Circus Tickets: Louisiana—All circuses, shows, and tent exhibitions, to which the attendance of...more than one race is invited or expected to attend shall provide for the convenience of its patrons not less than two ticket offices with individual ticket sellers, and not less than two entrances to the said performance, with individual ticket takers and receivers, and in the case of outside or tent performances, the said ticket offices shall not be less than twenty-five (25) feet apart.
Cohabitation: Florida—Any negro man and white woman, or any white man and negro woman, who are not married to each other, who shall habitually live in and occupy in the nighttime the same room shall each be punished by imprisonment not exceeding twelve (12) months, or by fine not exceeding five hundred ($500.00) dollars.
Education: Florida—The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted separately; Mississippi—Separate schools shall be maintained for the children of the white and colored races; Missouri—Separate free schools shall be established for the education of children of African descent, and it shall be unlawful for any colored child to attend any white school, or any white child to attend a colored school; New Mexico—Separate rooms [shall] be provided for the teaching of pupils of African descent, and [when] said rooms are so provided, such pupils may not be admitted to the school rooms occupied and used by pupils of Caucasian or other descent; Texas—[The County Board of Education] shall provide schools of two kinds; those for white children and those for colored children.
Fishing, Boating, and Bathing: Oklahoma—The [Conservation] Commission shall have the right to make segregation of the white and colored races as to the exercise of rights of fishing, boating and bathing.
Hospital Entrances: Mississippi—There shall be maintained by the governing authorities of every hospital maintained by the state for treatment of white and colored patients separate entrances for white and colored patients and visitors, and such entrances shall be used by the race only for which they are prepared.
Housing: Louisiana—Any person . . . who shall rent any part of any such building to a negro person or a negro family when such building is already in whole or in part in occupancy by a white person or white family, or vice versa when the building is in occupancy by a negro person or negro family, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five ($25.00) nor more than one hundred ($100.00) dollars or be imprisoned not less than 10, or more than 60 days, or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.
Intermarriage: Arizona—The marriage of a person of Caucasian blood with a Negro, Mongolian, Malay, or Hindu shall be null and void; Florida—All marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a person of negro descent to the fourth generation inclusive, are hereby forever prohibited; Georgia—It shall be unlawful for a white person to marry anyone except a white person. Any marriage in violation of this section shall be void; Maryland—All marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a person of negro descent, to the third generation, inclusive, or between a white person and a member of the Malay race, or between the negro and a member of the Malay race, or between a person of Negro descent, to the third generation, inclusive, and a member of the Malay race, are forever prohibited, and shall be void; Mississippi—The marriage of a white person with a negro or mulatto or person who shall have one-eighth or more of negro blood, shall be unlawful and void; Missouri—All marriages between . . . white persons and negroes or white persons and Mongolians . . . are prohibited and declared absolutely void . . . No person having one-eighth part or more of negro blood shall be permitted to marry any white person, nor shall any white person be permitted to marry any negro or person having one-eighth part or more of negro blood; Wyoming—All marriages of white persons with Negroes, Mulattos, Mongolians, or Malaya hereafter contracted in the State of Wyoming are and shall be illegal and void.
Juvenile Delinquents: Florida—here shall be separate buildings, not nearer than one fourth mile to each other, one for white boys and one for negro boys. White boys and negro boys shall not, in any manner, be associated together or worked together.
Libraries: North Carolina—The state librarian is directed to fit up and maintain a separate place for the use of the colored people who may come to the library for the purpose of reading books or periodicals; Texas—Any white person of such county may use the county free library under the rules and regulations prescribed by the commissioners court and may be entitled to all the privileges thereof. Said court shall make proper provision for the negroes of said county to be served through a separate branch or branches of the county free library, which shall be administered by [a] custodian of the negro race under the supervision of the county librarian.