Jim Crow Laws Essay

437 Words2 Pages

In many large urban areas in the United States, the majority of working-age African American men have criminal records. It was reported in 2002 that, in the Chicago area, if you take into account prisoners, the figure is nearly 80%” (Alexander, page nuber?). The Jim Crow Law was a set of state and local laws enacted in the Southern and border states of the United States between 1876 and 1965. The laws mandated the segregation of public facilities and services, such as schools, public transportation, restrooms, and drinking fountains, based on race, in order to maintain white supremacy and racial segregation in the South. The Jim Crow era was a period of widespread racial segregation and discrimination, and the Jim Crow Law was its legal framework. …show more content…

Both systems have been used to target disproportionately and oppress people of color and deny them their civil liberties. The United States criminal justice has been criticized for its high rate of incarceration, racial disparities in sentencing, and police brutality. All these echo “They can be denied the right to vote, automatically excluded from juries, and legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, and public benefits, much as their grandparents and great-grandparents were during the Jim Crow era” (Alexander, page 10). Voting rights have been a central issue in the Jim Crow era and remain significant today. Today, voting rights are also under attack, with states passing laws that require photo ID to vote, limiting early voting, and purging voter rolls. These laws disproportionately affect people of color and have been found to be unconstitutional in many cases. According to Professor Michelle Alexander, “Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia deny prisoners the right to vote. That, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. Even after the term of punishment expires, states are free to deny people who have been labeled felons the right to vote for a period of years or their entire lives” (Alexander, page 20). These issues are particularly pronounced in the criminal justice system, where African Americans are disproportionately arrested and incarcerated. This inequality is a direct result of the legacy of Jim Crow laws and continues to perpetuate racial inequities in the United States

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