A Jim Crow Law is any law that enforced racial segregation in the United States. These laws were most present between the end of the formal Reconstruction period in 1877 and the beginning of the strong civil rights movement in the 1950's.

"Jim Crow" came from the 19th century song written by Thomas Dartmouth "Daddy" Rice, who met a negro singing this song, Daddy Rice wrote a short solo skit based on his encounter with the negro, and performed it on stage.

"Come listen all you galls and boys,I'm going to sing a little song,My name is Jim Crow.Weel about and turn about and do jis so,Eb'ry time I weel about I jump Jim Crow."
In his performance he portrayed an exxagerated, highly stereotypical black character, darkening his skin with black cork (1828).After the success of his shows, "Jim Crow" became a collective racial name for blacks.


Below are examples of some of these Jim Crow laws. This is not an all-inclusive list and there are many more laws of this type that existed in the US during this time.

  • There shall be separate schools for white and coloured children, with no children attending the school for the other race.(Alabama 1901)
  • No person or corporation can require a white female nurse to take care of any black male or nurse in wards where black men are being treated. (Alabama 1915)
  • A sheriff or a jailer may not confine white and black prisoners in the same room or jail cell. (Alabama 1911)

  • A white person cannot leave their spouse for a negro. Likewise, a negro cannot leave their spouse for any white person. (Alabama 1923)
  • It is illegal to run a restaurant in which white and coloured people are served in the same room unless they are separated by a partition at least 7 feet high with separate entrances from the street for each compartment. (Alabama)
  • It is illegal for white people and negroes to play a game of pool or billiards in the company of one another. (Alabama)
  • Every railroad company in the state must provide sufficient waiting rooms, enough for separate rooms for each sex and race. (Alabama 1923)
  • Trains must have two cars for the white and coloured race or one passenger car must be properly divided to accomodate both races. (Alabama 1923)
  • Tax collectors must ensure that taxes be kept in seperate accounts according to the race of the tax payer. (Alabama 1935)
  • White people and negroes cannot play or be together in any game of cards, dice, dominoes or checkers. (Alabama 1930)
  • Marriages are void if one spouse is white and the other is of 1/8th or more black, Japanese, or Chinese blood. (Nebraska 1911)
  • No colored barbor shall serve as a barbor to white females.
  • An officer cannot bury any coloured person upon ground used for the burial of white people.
  • It is illegal for any white person to surrender or give custody of their child permanently to any negro.
  • White and coloured races must be given seperate toilet facilities. (Alabama)
  • Anyone licensed to conduct a business of selling alcohol can serve either only white people or only black people, and the two races cannot be served in the same room anywhere under the same license. (Georgia)
  • It is law that race must considered in adoption petitions.
  • Textbooks cannot be interchanged between the white and coloured schools, but can only be used by the race first using them. (North Carolina)
  • Any person found guilty of promoting equality, either in a written manner or a spoken manner, shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $500 and/or imprisonment not exceeding 6 months.