Jim Crow Laws: Texas, Utah and Vermont 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: Texas, Utah and Vermont [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. In 1837 the legislature separated the races by enacting a miscegenation statute which stipulated ''that it shall not be lawful for any person of European blood . . . to intermarry with Africans." Source is: H. P. N. Gammel, ed., The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 (10 vols., Austin, 1898), 1:1294-1295. In 1839, the city of Galveston attempted to regulate the behavior of free blacks by setting a curfew for ten p.m. and requiring them to register with the mayor. In Fort Bend County free blacks "were unable to associate either with whites or slaves. Source is: H. P. N. Gammel, ed., The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 (10 vols., Austin, 1898), : IV: 1037

In 1840 the legislature forbade the immigration of free blacks into the Republic upon penalty of enslavement. The Texas slave code of 1858 indicated this major revision in public sentiment. The statute provided, for example, that "the insolence of a slave will justify a white man in inflicting moderate chastisement, with an ordinary instrument of correction, if done at the time when the insolent language is used." Source is: Richard C. Wade, Slavery in the Cities: The South, 1820-1860 (New York, 1964), 278

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: On June 19, (Juneteenth) the people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the U.S., all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere. Source 

1866: The Constitution mandated that all taxes paid by African Americans go to maintaining African American schools. It is the duty of the legislature to "encourage colored schools." #

1873: In Charles Frasher v. The State of Texas (3 Tex. App. 263), the Texas appeals court affirmed that interracial marriage continued to be illegal; it justified the ban as a public safety measure, designed to defuse racial tension – a rationale that Southern courts would use for decades to come to justify Jim Crow laws. Source  

1875: Poll taxes (or head taxes) had been the law in Texas since the Republic of Texas era. They had nothing to do with voting, however. In the 1875 constitutional convention, a proposal was made to link the poll tax to voting, but it was defeated by a coalition of Republicans and supporters of the Farmers Alliance (Grange). Source: Journal of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Texas: Begun and Held at the City of Austin, September 6th, 1875, Galveston, 1875, pages 307-310. The poll tax was finally linked to voting in the early 1900s by the Terrell election law.

1883: The case of Cavitt v. State (15 Tex. Ct. App. 190) was one of the earliest involving a jury challenge. the Texas appeals court viewed the world as one where antagonism between and clannishness within racial and ethnic groups was viewed as natural; it saw no reason to fight against nature in laying down jury selection procedures. Source  

1889: The Texas legislature repeals the 1871 statute that barred segregation on public transportation. Railroad companies are now required to maintain separate coaches for Black passengers. Source

1891: A Statute strengthens separate coach laws. Separate coaches for white and Negro passengers to be equal in all points of comfort and convenience. Designed by signage posted in a conspicuous place in each compartment. Trains allowed to carry chair cars or sleeping cars for the exclusive use of either race. Law did not apply to streetcars. Penalty: Conductors who failed to enforce law faced misdemeanor charge punish able by a fine from $5 to $25. The railroad company could be fined from $100 to $1,000 for each trip. Passengers who refused to sit in designated areas faced fines from $5 to $25. #

1898: In Carter v. State–Texas, (46 S.W. 236, 48 S.W. 508), reversed, 177 U.S. 442 (1900), a black criminal defendant pointed out that even though Galveston, the place of trial, was 25% black, no black had ever served on a jury there. The trial court said this was not enough to show discrimination and it refused to let the defendant present additional evidence of discrimination. Texas’s appeals court did not view this as a problem: because the case involved a black-on-black crime and did not involve whites, it simply could not see any possibility of prejudice against the defendant on account of his race. The U.S. Supreme Court felt differently:  it reversed the Texas court, stating that evidence of actual discrimination was relevant and should have been heard. Source  

1900-01: In the case of Whitney v. State – Texas (59 S.W. 895, 63 S.W. 879), a Texas trial court rejected a jury discrimination claim even though one of the jury commissioners testified he would never impanel a black juror. Texas’s criminal appeals court sent the case back for selection of a new jury and a new trial:  it warned Texas trial courts that they must obey the U.S. Supreme Court whether they agreed with it. That was not the last time a warning would be needed. Source  

1906: Three companies of black troops accused of waging a murderous raid in Brownsville, Texas, were denied a fair trial by court martial and dishonorably discharged by President Theodore Roosevelt. Source  

1907: A streetcars Statute required all streetcars to comply with the separate coach law passed in 1889. Penalty: Streetcar companies could be fined from $100 to $1,000 for failing to enact law. A passenger wrongfully riding in an improper coach was guilty of a misdemeanor and faced fines from $5 to $25. #

1910-11: The legislature passed laws dictating that railroad companies provide separate waiting rooms in railroad stations. Source 

1914: A Statute mandates that Negro porters shall not sleep in sleeping car berths nor use bedding intended for white passengers. #

1915: A State Code sets the penalty for intermarriage as imprisonment in the penitentiary from two to five years. #

1919: A public accommodations Statute ordered that Negroes were to use separate branches of county free libraries. #

1922: A voting rights Statute stated that " . . . in no event shall a Negro be eligible to participate in a Democratic party primary election held in the State of Texas. " Overturned in 1927 by U.S. Supreme Court in Nixon v. Herndon (273 U.S. 536). Source  

1925: An education Statute required racially segregated schools. #

1925: A public accommodations Statute mandated that separate branches for Negroes to be administered by a Negro custodian in all county libraries. #

1925: The Penal Code declares that miscegenation a felony between whites and Africans or the descendants to Africans. It also nullified interracial marriages if parties went to another jurisdiction where such marriages were legal. Source is: CIVIL STAT., & 4607

1926: A Statute requires public carriers to be segregated. #