HIST 4061 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Civil Rights Cases, De Jure, Separate Car Act

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13 Aug 2016
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Race Class Week 2 Notes:
Dark Journey
- Mississippi color line drawn in attitudes of its people before it was sanctioned by law
- In states like Virginia and North Carolina racial segregation might not have been defined until
the turn of the century
- In the lower south, white sentiment was established early
- Mississippi was first state to give all rights to its citizens
oWhite sentiment took away from these rights
Black railroad cars, and sections on boats—public places
- Color line was irregular until the turn of century
- **essentially, so far the article is talking about how Mississippi had Jim Crow’d blacks well
before the start of extreme racism after 1890
- Children’s attitude towards black is less sympathetic cause they do not have attachment to
them
- 1888: separate coach law to promote comfort of white passengers
- 1906:train depots required to have 3 bathrooms, white male and female, and black
- 1922: taxi drivers unable to carry both races
- 1940: blacks required to sit behind whites on busses
oObject of these laws was to prevent frictions disorder and unhappiness
- Blacks and whites never attended same school in Mississippi
- Racial segregation was matter of custom—public places like salons, theatres, restaurants etc.
were allowed to choose their own patrons
- In Mississippi, after 1890 moved from system of de facto to de jure segregation
- There was no legal cause to separate the two races, the confidence of whites ensured that the
races knew their place
oHowever, they did not accept white dominance as natural or just
They sometimes registered injustice and asserted civil rights
Part 2
- Blacks “place” was more behavioural than spatial—social distance
oWhites didn’t object to association with blacks as long as they were deemed socially
inferior
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find more resources at oneclass.com
- Manners were important (call by last name) but blacks were address by first name or “boy”
- White men showed no respect to blacks; blacks were required to show reverence to whites and
respect even the poorest of whites
- Racial code prohibited interracial activity that could imply equality: eating, drinking, playing,
social chatting on whites property
- Black Mississippians were expected to avoid controversy with whites
- Black children were conditioned into this behavior; some rejected it
- Blacks tried to minimize interaction with whites and appear obedient when necessary
- Physical intimidation as tool to manage negroes
Part 3
- White man murdered; black slave accused of committing murder due to race
- They hung him from a tree and beat him
- Two other blacks charged with same crime
- Forced testimony due to violence
oThey testified to their own defence bringing up this violence
- Sentenced to death on May 11
- Lawyer got this reduced to 6 months for Ellington, and almost 10 years for the other 2
oEllington suffered major injury under police custody
- “negro law”: white interests were a major concern of prosecutors, jurors, and judges—law
enforcement served the needs of the caste
- The tension between social justice and social control was nearly always resolved in the interests
of the dominant race
Ginsburg Article
14th Amendment
- Passed after Civil War; southern states have to abide by in their treatment of blacks to return to
union
- Article 1 of the Amendment states that anyone born or naturalized in U.S. is a citizen
oBig leap for blacks because no Africans were allowed to be citizens
- 2nd part of Article 1 stated that they were to receive equal protection under law
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find more resources at oneclass.com
oNot always a good thing. Ex suppose an election law required that voters be able to pass
a literacy test. Would such a law violate “equal protection” if it turned out that that
fewer African-Americans than whites could read?
Civil Rights Act of 1875
The Civil Rights Act of 1875 leapt beyond that to prohibit discriminatory behavior on the part of
individuals in a wide range of economic transactions. Specifically it required:
That all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall be entitled to the full and equal
enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances
on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement; subject only to the conditions
and limitations established by law, and applicable alike to citizens of every race and color, regardless
of any previous condition of servitude.
- Two Supreme Court decisions, one in 1883 and one in 1896, dramatically weakened the impact
of both acts
THE CIVIL RIGHTS CASES OF 1883
- Court took up the issue of whether the Civil Rights Act was constitutional
oDecided it wasn’t
- To understand the Court’s position, some background is necessary. In particular it must be
understood that in the United States, as in Canada, political jurisdiction is divided between a
central government and a set of subnational governments
- Accordingly, when the Civil Rights cases came forward, the central question was whether
something in the Constitution gave Congress the right, the authority, to dictate how individual
businesses treated their customers.
- Thus, the question confronting the Court was whether a law ordaining that the owners of inns
and other public accommodations could not discriminate against blacks could be seen as
logically related to either the abolition of slavery or the equal protection provision of the 14th
Amendment.
- In short, it is one thing to discriminate against people, another to enslave them. Since the two
are different, the 13th Amendment cannot be seen as providing Congress with the authority to
control business transactions between individuals.
- In a nutshell, the 14th Amendment has nothing to do with how individuals treat each other; it is
solely concerned with prescribing how states must act in dealing with their citizens.
PLESSY V. FERGUSON (1896)
- The rule Plessy introduced was that it was acceptable under the 14th Amendment for state
governments to segregate blacks from whites—e.g. in schools—so long as the facilities provided
to each race were equal
find more resources at oneclass.com
find more resources at oneclass.com