Internet Research Projects

Jim Crow

In this project, you will extend the treatment of de jure segregation in Chapter 5 by visiting a website titled “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow” ( The website is related to a documentary series, which can be ordered from the website and is well worth viewing. The website has five subsections, and you should explore each and take the “Jim Crow Quiz” under the “Tools & Activities” link. As you browse the site, find answers to each of the questions below. (NOTE: Your instructor may have different or additional questions.)


Questions for Research Discussion

  1.  What “strange fruit” did Billie Holiday sing about?

  2.  In what year did Louisiana ban marriages between “white persons and persons of color?”

  3.  What state, in 1876, provided that schools could be segregated if there were 15 or more “colored” children?

  4.  In Florida in 1909, what was the fine for “occupying” a train car other than the one designated for one’s race?

  5.  5. In what year was Wilberforce University in Ohio founded? Who was Wilberforce? What was the mission of this institution?

  6.  What were the following people best known for? Where did they live and what were their dates of birth and death?

    • Sidney Bechet

    • Madam C. J. Walker

    • Ida B. Wells

    • Walter White

    • Ned Cobb

  7. What was the Brownsville Affair of 1906? How does this incident illustrate the racial dynamics of the Jim Crow era?

  8. Why is the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision important? What was its relationship to the Jim Crow system? What events led to this decision?

  9. What happened during the Red Summer of 1919? How do these events illustrate the dynamics of the Jim Crow system and American race relations in general?

  10. What was the relevance of the following organizations for Jim Crow?The

    • Democratic Party

    • The Populist Party

    • The National Urban League

    • The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters



Using the information and insights you gathered from the website, along with the material in this chapter, write an essay in which you explain the legal, political, economic, and social dimensions of Jim Crow segregation, citing specific examples. How did the system control blacks, institutionalize racial stratification, and sustain the privilege of whites? (NOTE: Your instructor may have more specific or different instructions.)

Optional Group Discussion: Discuss what you learned from the website and this chapter with a group of your classmates. Use your reaction essay to help guide your thoughts and focus the discussion. You might organize the discussion around questions such as the following:  (NOTE: Your instructor may have more specific or different instructions.)

  1. Why did de jure segregation happen? What was at stake? Who gained and who lost?

  2. How was the Jim Crow system sustained across time? What was the role of prejudice and racism? Subsistence technology? Law and custom? How was violence used to enforce the system? What organizations were involved in the creation and persistence of segregation?

  3. What does it mean to call this system “rigid competitive”? How did it differ from the paternalistic system of slavery?

  4. How did the black community react to segregation? What means of resistance and escape were available? Were they effective? Why or why not?

  5. Why did de jure segregation end? What macro-level changes in subsistence technology made segregation untenable? Why?