The racial segregation in USA

The reconstruction after the American civil war

principal conflicts of this war
principal conflicts of this war

Civil war (secession war) in USA.                


   Begun, in 1861, after the election of Abraham Lincoln, the secession war ravaged south of United States during four years. Its sets the States of the South confederated and those of the North, training the Union, about the slavery. So, during several years of bloody fights take place, the fate of the Black slaves of the South.


   The period which runs since the end of the American Civil War (and the emancipation) in 1865 up to the implementation of the segregation at the end of the XIXth century (recognized by the Supreme Court in 1896) is central in the story of the south of the united states: considerable turnovers occurred there, with the end of a world (that of the slavery and the cotton king) and the emergence of the one-model of society based on the with ascendancy and the racial segregation.

Consequence of the Civil War.


   At the conclusion of the American civil war in 1885, slavery is abolished in the south of United States. But the black population is progressively relegated and they’re not allowed to take part in the politic life. A legal system of segregation has been imposed for almost a century.

   In 1865, North won the war, the thirteen’s amendment allowed the abolition of slavery on the whole of United States in 1966, the congress which was mainly composed of republican which was the Lincoln’s party, abolished the black codes voted by assemblies of the south after the war. These codes obliged the farmer slaves to stay in plantations. The fourteenth amendment guaranteed the citizenship of farmer slaves. In 1869 the fifteenth amendment forbade any calling into question of the right to vote for the black citizens. The formers slaves could, now, have the right for vote and numerous black politicians were elected in all the states of south. In South Carolina, black people were more numerous than the whites to vote.

But the situation degrades because of the return at the power of the supporter of the slavery who was members of the Ku Klux Klan, and the disengagement of the Nordists republicans.

The Segregation becomes legal in 1917 with Jim Crow laws.

The laws that enforced segregation

     Instauration of Jim Crow Lows.


   They were established in 1876, the laws called “Jim Crow” create a new social order in the South of United States Of America. This text intervenes to organize into a hierarchy the society after the abolition of slavery and the civil war. Its standardize the new society system, the ex-confederation adopts a new legislation which returns to the whites their ascendancy and which restricts the rights of the former slaves.


   Since, the segregationist system replaces the slave system. The majority of the Jim Crow laws will remain into force until the vote of the “Civil Right Act” in 1964. Some of them are still written the southerners’ Constitutions. The United States establishes the equality of the rights for all the citizens, but the white population demands to be protected against the blacks who were henceforth free. A black Code based on the French model, of the first racial legislation ever, was then applied in former slave states.

    Role of Jim Crow laws.


    Jim Crow laws define rights and restrictions imposed on those who will become the afro Americans, but who are still called “negros”. Its legalize racial segregation and allow the blacks’ submission in the every day life, public or private. The Jim Crow laws concern the Blacks and Whites separation in public places and differ from states. Black people are often excluded from schools, churches, hospitals, public transports, restaurants, shows, theatre. The blacks and whites are completely secluded. Only white people can have professions by the public service.

   The blacks are put away from the society. The laws which were established favour communautarism because the black and white people don’t mix themselves. Here are some laws which show the black people’s exclusion of society:

-         Marriage between a black and a white person is forbidden.

-         The intimate relations out of marriage are forbidden between a black and a white person.

-         A black person can’t adopt a white child, even if his parents chose them.

-         Black and white families are not allowed to live in the same building.

-         Owner who rents an apartment to the Blacks, in a building where live the Whites, is liable to detention.

The blacks could not drink in the fountain of the whites
The blacks could not drink in the fountain of the whites

Violence made on blacks by white people

The ill-treatment that the black people were subjected.


   Black people were wrongly accused of murders and rapes. The blacks were hanged, massacred and humbled. A song, was written in 1937 by Abel Meeropol, recall these macabre ritual, it called “Strange fruit”. This song talks about the corps of a black person which was hanged to a tree. Black people has been whipped, mistreated if they try to impose there liberty.  The segregation and the racist violence in the South had for consequence the departure of a part of the black population towards big cities of the North ( Approximately 200 000 persons ) people installed between 1890 and 1910. Grouped together in districts exclusively for the blacks as Harlem called ‘colored districts’.

The fight of white people against Blacks:

During the segregation after the wars, numerous actions were lead against the blacks in the USA. The most famous of these actions were those lead by the Ku Klux Klan, created at the end of 19th century. This organization gathers the entire member of extreme right under the same xenophobic principles as monastic community.
The Ku Klux Klan thinks that the white race is better to the others. This organization regroups a lot of political personality like Thomas M.Jones who was an eminent member of the legal system. But we found also mayors, state employees, policemen, storekeepers there.
Nowadays the Ku Klux Klan don't finish haunting America, it is not only the most famous secret society of the country, but also the organization of extreme right the most powerful. The order would gather between 3000 and 4000 members.
But the Ku Klux Klan was not the only organization to lead criminal actions against black people. There were also minor groups which do not exist anymore nowadays; a lot of violent actions took place.

The Great Black American Figures

Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey

Marcus Mosiah Garvey


17 august 1997-10 June 1940 was a publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, Black Nationalist, Pan-Africanist and orator. Marcus Garvey was founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League.


Prior to the twentieth century, leaders such as Prince Hall, Martin Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden and Henry Highland Garned advocated the involvement of the African diaspora in African affairs. Garvey was unique in advancing a Pan-African philosophy to inspire a global mass movement focusing on Africa known as Garveyism. Promoted by the UNIA as a movement of African Redemtion, Garveyism would eventually inspire others, ranging from the Nation of Islam, to the Rastafari movement (wich proclaims Garvey as a prophet) .The intention of the movement was for those of African ancestry to “redeem” Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave it. His essential ideas about Africa were stated in an editorial in the Negro World title: “African Fundamentalism” where he wrote:


“Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationalities… let us hold together under all climes and in every country…”

Malcolm X
Malcolm X

Malcolm X:


Malcolm Little well-know later under the name of Malcolm X, he was born on 19 may 1925 in Omaha in a black and poor family. He grew up in poverty because of the racial segregation against his community. Malcolm X wanted to become a lawyer but he realized that he couldn’t. Blinded by the injustices which he has sudden he goes into a extremist black group called “the Nation of Islam”, this group considered the Whites being “the beings of the devil”. It’s when he comes back from Mecca he realized the true message of peace of Islam, and that Withes wasn’t devils beings. He pronounced then this sentence very famous: “I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug - while praying to the same God - with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white.” It’s then that Malcolm X preached a message of brotherhood, peace and love between Whites and Blacks. He was assassinated in 1965 at age of 39 years old in Harlem by a black extremist.

Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King:


Martin Luther king was an eminent defender of human rights; this black pastor stays a symbolic face of fight for races equality. He lauded the non-violence according to the ideas of his model Gandhi. He organized protests against the racial segregation which gathered about thousands persons. It’s when he pronounced his speech in a demonstration that he laud the necessity of based the society on equality between every races, every religions and that he wants to drive his fight in dignity and discipline. He was assassinated at age of 39 years old and his death gave more powers has his actions and the segregation lows against blacks were canceled. It’s by the sacrifice of his life that Martin Luther King crowned his peaceful action. He received the Nobel Peace Prize shortly before his death

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was a member of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. This organization was creating in 1910. Since it leads its fight on the legal ground to make respected the 14th amendment adopted in 1865. This amendment proclaims the citizenship to all people born on the territory, even for the ancient black slave.


Rosa Parks, she was a black women coming from Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, in the South of USA. Blacks had no right to sit down on the first four rows of a bus; these places were reserved for the Whites. One day, Rosa sits on the fifth row. But the bus become full and white people are obligate to stay up. The driver asks her to give up her place, she denied!

So, Rosa Park is arrested then judged, she lost her job. During this time, the black population of Montgomery decided to boycott the buses of the city. During 381 days, Blacks walk stands and put in place them system of transport.  They wanted to obtain the modification of the laws, and be on an equal footing with the Whites.

In November 1956, is declared that the segregation in transports is contrary to the law and that it has to stop.

Black Panthers:


During October, 1966, to Oakland in California, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale starts the Black Panther Party for Self-defense. They were the guardian angels of the black community of the United States and they wanted to establish the revolutionary socialism. They were inspired by ideologies which we can qualify as racist approved by Malcolm X before his pilgrimage. They wanted to do a revolution and them considerate the violence as necessary, contrary to the ideas of Martin Luther King.  The members of this group were quickly imprisoned. The American government multiplied the provocations what caused internal problems, the group eventually imploded finally