Jim Crow - ENG2DI

To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee Unit Introduction Highlights of Unit Discuss literary elements: plot, characters, setting, themes, symbols Write a literary essay

Introduction to Novel: Some Background Information To Kill A Mockingbird includes several references to historical events. Knowing some information about this events is important

for understanding the novel. About the Author To Kill A Mockingbird is semiautobiographical for a number of reasons: Lee grew up in Alabama Father was prominent lawyer Experienced Great Depression, Scottsboro Trials

Scout based on her life; Dill based on life of childhood friend Truman Capote 25% of population had no job Hundreds of thousands lost homes, farms

and possessions Even those with jobs were affected because nothing was being produced Average family income dropped to 50% by 1935

GREAT DEPRESSION The novel takes place during the mid-1930s at a time when the government was attempting to stop the Great Depression. The President at the time, Franklin Roosevelt, famously said, the only thing to fear is fear itself as his government created programs to create jobs, house the homeless and feed the starving.

Stock Market Crash caused people to lose billions. Entire banks were wiped out and by 1933 over 60% of population was considered poor The Finches

Weal thy White Town/Country People White folks of Maycomb & Maycomb County The Ewell Family

White Trash Tom Robinson Black People Even the law was one-sided: Juries were always all-white and all-male. The word of a black man meant nothing against the word of a white man.

d n a m s i c a s R

e s s a l C l a Soci

Although slavery was abolished in the 1890s racism and discrimination were alive and well during the time of the novel. The novel is based on many historical facts that help to drive the story, (and allow the readers to explore a sad time in American history) including: Jim Crow Laws (1890s 1960s) Scottsboro Trials (1931)

Social Inequality (Forever) Jim Crow What Was Jim Crow? the name of the racial caste system which operated primarily, but not

exclusively in southern and border states, between 1877 and the mid-1960s. Jim Crow was more than a series of rigid antiBlack laws. It was a way of life. Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second class citizens.

Jim Crow represented the legitimization of anti-Black racism. Many Christian ministers and theologians taught that Whites were the Chosen people, Blacks were cursed to be servants, and God supported racial segregation. Pro-segregation politicians gave eloquent speeches on the great danger of integration: the mongrelization of the White race. Blacks were considered culturally inferior to

Whites. Jim Crow legitimized discrimination The Jim Crow system rationalizations: Whites were

superior to Blacks in all important ways, ( intelligence, morality, and civilized behavior) Sexual relations between Blacks and Whites would produce a mongrel race which would

destroy America Treating Blacks as equals would encourage interracial sexual unions; any activity which suggested social equality encouraged interracial sexual relations If necessary, violence must be used to keep Blacks at the bottom of the racial hierarchy. The following Jim Crow etiquette norms show how inclusive and pervasive these

norms were: a. A Black male could not offer his hand (to shake hands) with a White male because it implied being socially equal. b. Obviously, a Black male could not offer his hand or any other part of his body to a White woman, because he risked being accused of rape.

Blacks and Whites were not supposed to eat together. If they did eat together,

Whites were to be served first, and some sort of partition was to be placed between them. Under no circumstance was a Black male to offer to light the

cigarette of a White female -- that gesture implied intimacy. Schools were segregated. Blacks were not allowed to show public affection toward one another in public, especially kissing, because it offended Whites.

Jim Crow etiquette prescribed that Blacks were introduced to Whites, never Whites to Blacks. For example: "Mr. Peters (the White person), this is Charlie (the Black person), that I spoke to you about." Whites did not use courtesy titles of respect when referring to Blacks, for example, Mr., Mrs., Miss., Sir, or Ma'am. Instead, Blacks

were called by their first names. Blacks had to use courtesy titles when referring to Whites, and were not allowed to call them by their first names. If a Black person rode in a car driven by a White person, the Black person sat in the back seat, or the back of a truck. Blacks were

denied the right to vote by grandfather clauses laws that restricted the right to vote to people whose ancestors had voted before the Civil War,

poll taxes (fees charged to poor Blacks), white primaries (only Democrats could vote, only Whites could be Democrats), and literacy tests

Jim Crow states passed statutes severely regulating social interactions between the races. Jim Crow signs were placed above water fountains, door entrances and exits, and in front of public facilities. White motorists had the right-of-way at all intersections. Stetson Kennedy, the author of Jim Crow

Guide, offered these simple rules that Blacks were supposed to observe in conversing with Whites:

Never assert or even intimate that a White person is lying. Never impute dishonorable intentions to a White person. Never suggest that a White person is from an inferior class. Never lay claim to, or overly demonstrate, superior knowledge or intelligence.

Never curse a White person. Never laugh derisively at a White person. Never comment upon the appearance of a White female.1 Jim Crow etiquette operated in conjunction with Jim Crow laws (black codes).

When most people think of Jim Crow they think of laws (not the Jim Crow etiquette) which excluded Blacks from public transport and facilities, juries,

jobs, and neighborhoods. Separate Car Law," which purported to aid passenger comfort by creating "equal but separate" cars for Blacks and Whites. This was a ruse. No public accommodations, including railway travel, provided Blacks with equal facilities. The Louisiana law made it illegal for Blacks to sit in coach seats reserved for Whites, and Whites could not sit in seats reserved for Blacks.

States began restricting the liberties of Blacks. Unfortunately for Blacks, the Supreme Court helped undermine the Constitutional protections of Blacks with the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) case, which legitimized Jim Crow laws and the Jim Crow way of life.

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