One Hundred Years of Jim Crow
Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, white people in the South found ways to maintain their accustomed power over black people through a combination of laws, social customs, and mob violence. This system, known as “Jim Crow,” rested on five pillars of oppression:
Millions of black people migrated to the North hoping to escape Jim Crow, only to find “sundown towns,” as wells as schools, neighborhoods, hotels, theaters, and restaurants segregated not by law, but by custom. The North even had its share of Jim Crow “collectibles,” cross-burnings, and lynchings.
Jim Crow is said to have ended in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act that outlawed segregation in schools, workplaces, and public accommodations and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that outlawed discriminatory voting practices.
This gallery is constantly adding new exhibits. Please check back periodically to see exhibits as we post them.
On a hot August night in 1930, 15,000 people flooded into the small Indiana town of Marion to see a great spectacle. Three black teenagers were being lynched for supposedly raping a white woman and killing a white man. The boys were savagely beaten by a mob of men, women and children. One by one they were hanged. Two died – but with the rope already tightening around his neck, one boy was saved.
The souvenir photo taken of this “spectacle lynching” is very well-known. They say it inspired the song “Strange Fruit,” written by teacher Abel Meeropol and made popular by singer Billie Holiday.
This exhibit pays tribute to people who fought hatred and injustice in the Jim Crow period. Some of these are well-known; others are unsung, ordinary people. Every quarter we will add more stories about the many heros of this era.
To inaugurate the exhibit, we present three unsung heros who opposed the infamous lynching in Marion, Indiana in 1930: Flossie Bailey and Grace and William Deeter.
If you want to dig deeper into the issues of the Jim Crow era, this extensive bibliography will get you started.
See a list of of some of the exhibits planned for this gallery.