Jim Crow Laws: Virginia 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: Virginia [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 1831, Blacks were barred from schools. With 25 statutes enacted between 1870 and 1960, Virginia passed a wide variety of Jim Crow laws, including seven public carrier, six school, four miscegenation and a residential statute to separate the races. Virginia’s 1847 Criminal Code stated: Any white person who shall assemble with slaves, [or] free negroes...for the purpose of instructing them to read or write,...shall be punished by confinement in the jail...and by fine...” Source  A 1912 statute authorized cities and towns to create "segregation districts" that would prevent blacks from moving into communities designated for whites only. This law set a precedent for many other states that adopted restrictive real estate covenants.

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.

1870: School system was segregated. Courts ruled that separate facilities for blacks and whites were legal if they were equal. Source 

1873: A State Code stated that White persons who married Negroes would be jailed for at least one year and fined a minimum of $100. Those who performed such ceremonies faced fines of $200, of which one-half would go to the informer. #

1878: A Statute stated that white persons who intermarried with a colored person would be confined in the penitentiary between two and five years. Ministers who performed such ceremonies were to be fined $200, of which the informer received half. "White and colored persons going out of the state to marry, shall be punished as if married in the state." #

1882: An education Statute declared that white and colored children shall be taught in separate schools. "The determination as to who is a colored person lies with the board." #

1883: The political pendulum had decisively swung in the direction of white supremacy, systematic racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans in Loudoun County. Source 

1900: A Statute required railroads required to offer separate cars for white and colored passengers. Conductors given the authority to judge the race of each passenger if a passenger refuses to disclose his race. The law further stated that passengers who refused to occupy their assigned car could be removed from the train. Source 

1900: A Statute called for the separation of white and colored passengers on steamboats while sitting, eating and sleeping. Penalty: Officers faced misdemeanor charges and were subject to a fine between $25 and $100. Passengers who refused to occupy the accommodations assigned to them were guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined between $5 and $50, or confined in jail for 30 days, or both. #

1901: A City Ordinance required Alexandria streetcars required to have separate compartments for white and black passengers. Penalty: Passengers who refused to occupy the place assigned to them were guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined from $5 to $25. #

1902: The Constitution prohibit mixed schools. White and colored children not allowed to be taught in the same school and which formalized numerous restrictions on voting rights, such as poll taxes and literacy tests, effectively shutting out most blacks (and many poor whites) from the political system. Source

1904: The General Assembly gave streetcar companies the power to segregate passengers by race. Source

1904: Owners of steamboat wharves were ordered by Statute to provide separate and "non-communicating rooms for the white and colored races." Did not apply to wharves at which boats arrived between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. that offered public houses while waiting. Penalty: Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine between $5 and $20 for each offense. #

1906: Streetcars were required by Statute to provide separate but equal compartments to white and colored passengers. Source  

1912: This act, noting that "the preservation of the public morals, public health and public order, in the cities and towns of this commonwealth is endangered by the residence of white and colored people in close proximity to one another," authorized cities and towns that adopted the provision, to be divided into districts known as "Segregation districts." City councils ordered to prepare a map showing the boundaries of all such districts, detailing the number of white persons and colored persons residing within such segregation districts. One year from the passage of the ordinances adopting the provision of this act, unlawful for any colored person, not then residing in a district so defined and designated as a white district, to move into and occupy as a residence any building or portion thereof in such white district. Also unlawful for a white person to move into a colored district. Penalty: Misdemeanor, with fine for the first week between $5 and $50 and for each succeeding day of such residence the sum of $2. #

1915: Segregated schools were rarely equal. Black students had poor buildings, textbooks and facilities compared to white students. White teachers were paid, on the average, three times as much as Black teachers. Source  

1922:  National Park Service park superintendents decided: “we cannot openly discriminate against [African Americans], [but] they should be told that the parks have no facilities for taking care for them.”[2] In the 1930s and 1940s, “black codes” mandated segregation. These laws proliferated at the state level, particularly in the south. Even though it was federal land, Shenandoah National Park was segregated through a “gentleman’s agreement.” In this agreement, the NPS committed to operate the park according to the state of Virginia’s local laws and customs, including segregation. Source  

1924: The Racial Integrity Act required that a racial description of every person be recorded at birth and prevented marriage between ``white persons'' and non-white persons. The Act deemed almost all Indians, for legal purposes, to be black. Public schools were not opened to Virginia Indians until 1963. Source 

1930: A State Code required segregation in every theater, movie theater, opera house or other place of public entertainment which accepts both white and colored audiences. #

1930: State Codes classified "Negro" as any person with Negro blood and required racially segregated schools. #

1930: The Constitution defined race. Originally entitled "A bill to preserve the integrity of the white race," tightened miscegenation provisions. The definition of "whiteness" was narrowed to state "no trace whatever" of non-white blood allowed. Nullified interracial marriage if parties went to another jurisdiction where such marriages were legal. For the first time Virginia prohibited marriage between whites and Asians and other non-white non-Negroes. Penalty: Felony for both parties if found guilty. Punishable by confinement in the penitentiary for between one and five years. #

1936: Dovell Act is passed. Gives scholarships for black college students to be educated out of state. Source