Twentieth century was the time when African Americans faced most of the troubles from the southern United States legislature and the white land owners. They experienced degradation, poverty and hardness living in the South’s countryside either in farms or in rural communities. White Dominated Blacks in south during this period of time. If this was the situation in the Southern countryside, what methods were taken by them to relegate African Americans as second class citizens?

Southerners used Black Codes which brought a dividing line between whites and blacks using harsh methods, Jim Crow laws which were the discriminating laws against blacks, and Segregation which separated blacks from white in the society to relegate African Americans as second class citizens. The southern legislature introduced Black codes to the southern United States to create a dividing line between Whites and Blacks. John P. Carrier says, “The intent of the Legislation passed in 1866 was to reaffirm the inferior position that slaves and free Blacks had held in south and to regulate black labor. As noted carrier, Black code was instituted in 1860s to repeat what had happened before in the history of United States.

This Law not only discriminated Black slaves, but also the free Blacks that were living in that era. By establishing these laws in South, Blacks were rejected their right to vote and all other rights related to the government. Carrier quoted, “Blacks were not allowed to vote or hold office, they could not serve on justice, and they could only testify only in cases involving blacks. These restrictions pushed Blacks as second class citizens because they didn’t have enough rights to say anything against or for government and other activities in the public.

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These laws that were established were more complex; therefore, it was mandated in more discriminating way and the punishments were severe. Black codes were also setup to separate blacks from white in public using severe measures like education laws, railroad laws, and other several of them. Carrier quoted, “Blacks were not allowed to hold office, they could not serve on juries, hey could only testify only in cases involving other blacks, separated blacks’ accommodation in the railroad and excluded blacks from educational institutions. ” As stated by historian Carrier, these laws victimized blacks in the public. One of the main discrimination was exclusion from education institution and public railroad even though other laws were severe. These relegated blacks’ second class citizens because they were denied whatever rights that could possibly help them grow.

The main goal of the laws that excluded blacks from the education institution was to stop them from getting education that can be used against white. Another aspect that played a big role in lowering Blacks as second class citizen was Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow laws were primarily operated between 1877 and mid-1960s. Its main goal was to exclude Blacks from the white society. These laws were mandated in all the facilities in the public. Jim Crow laws specifically stated what blacks could and could not do in public and towards many whites. A black male,” Stenson quoted, “could not offer his hand with a white male because it implied being socially equal and a black male couldn’t offer his hand to any white women because he risked being accused of rape. ” These were not laws, but it was the way how Black Americans lived during the twentieth century. To regain the white superiority, they included whatever they can to discriminate African Americans. The law that specified that they cannot shake their hands with whites shows that they were discriminated even for touching a white person.

If they didn’t follow these codes, the punishments were higher. This evidence shows that White landowners and others used these laws to discriminate African Americans. In order to regain the white superiority in the southern United States after the civil war, they used the way of segregating Blacks from the society. In 1877, Democratic Party regained its power in south and they put an end to the reconstruction processes. They changed holding office, voting rights and equality in society for African Americans. They started establishing organized group that will discriminate blacks in extreme.

These groups mainly include the KKK and the Knights of White Camellia. During the 1860s, violence was at its tip because segregation was supported by the authorities who were responsible to stop it. Hasday quoted, “The Ku Klux Klan, Knights of White Camellia, and other terrorist murdered thousands of Blacks to prevent them voting and participating in public life. ” Ku Klux Klan often abbreviated as KKK was originated in 1865. Their main focus was to discriminate black land owners, politicians, and community leaders. Most of their works were in small towns where people know each other.

They chose to use violence to re-claim their dominance. Even though these were problems that can be solved by the authorities, they chose not to do so; they were also thinking about relegating Blacks as second class citizens. One of the main methods of this violence was Hanging Blacks. They were hanged for violating a law that was practiced during that time: mostly segregating laws. By the 1900s, Southern legislation took the segregation to its zenith.

Stonaker mentioned, “States required separate entrance, segregated telephone booths, segregated race tracks and segregated sports matches. As Stonaker quoted, segregating blacks from the society was at its extreme when United States entered the World War II. Every part of the society was segregated by White rules and it made blacks impossible to anything in the white society. The southern Democrats drove to hold blacks in their equitable place in the society which is in the bottom level. This Government instituted poll tax, literacy test and other requirements in order for the people to vote. As Time progressed, it was impossible to carry out the segregation laws in the United States because violence was developing throughout the country.

African Americans started to find ways to fight the segregation laws either in peace or by violence. They started to find organizations that will help them fight by law. Hasday in The Civil Rights Act of 1964, quoted, “Early on its fight for equality, the NAACP used the courts to try to overturn existing “Jim Crow” statutes. ”These were the path of peace some used to fight against these discriminatory laws. The National Association for the Advancement for the Colored People, or often abbreviated as NAACP, understood what blacks needed and they worked with them to move from the poverty level. Other way they used was the path of violence.

Even though it didn’t work as they expected, these ways helped to turn people’s attention towards the problem. By witnessing this evidence, it is definite that the twentieth century was by far the most challenging century for African Americans. They struggled in every part of their life because of the complexes of the white population. Southerners used Black Codes which brought a dividing line between whites and blacks using harsh methods, Jim Crow laws which were the discriminating laws against blacks, and Segregation which separated blacks from white in the society to relegate African Americans as second class citizens.

The discriminatory laws passed by the southern legislature suggest some warnings for the future. If a government can surpass its limit and act against a group of people, it is evadible that it could possibly happen again. The time it took to recover from early period was drastic. If this happens again, the time to recover from it will be short because of our knowledge in modern violence. That could possibly even end an era. To stop it from happening, we as a people should take a stand that will put a barrier around our government.


Hurt, Douglas, ed. African American Life in the Rural South. Missouri: University of Missouri press, 2003 Hasday, Judy. The Civil Rights Act Of 1964. New York: Chelsea House, 2007 Bernado, Stephanie. The Ethnic Almanac. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, 1981 Carrier, John. A political history of Texas during reconstruction. Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1965 Stenson, Kennedy. Jim Crow guide: the way it was. Florida: Atlantic University Press, 1990 Brielle Stonaker. “Rossville Jr. High”; available at: http://www. kawvalley. k12. ks. us, Internet, April 5, 2011


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