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:

• Economic
• Political
• Legal
• Social
• Personal

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.

 

Exhibits

Souvenir Portrait of the Lynching of Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp, August 7, 1930, by studio photographer Lawrence Beitler. Courtesy of the Indiana Hisorical Society.

An Iconic Lynching in the North

This exhibit has video

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.

 
Claude, age 23, just months before his 1930 murder. Courtesy of Faith Deeter.

Freedom’s Heroes During Jim Crow: Flossie Bailey and the Deeters

This exhibit has video

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.

 
Mammy Statue JC Museum Ferris

Bibliography – One Hundred Years Of Jim Crow

If you want to dig deeper into the issues of the Jim Crow era, this extensive bibliography will get you started.

 
An NAACP flyer campaigning for the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 1922, but was filibustered to defeat in the Senate. Dyer, the NAACP, and freedom fighters around the country, like Flossie Baily, struggled for years to get the Dyer and other anti-lynching bills passed, to no avail. Today there is still no U.S. law specifically against lynching. In 2005, eighty of the 100 U.S. Senators voted for a resolution to apologize to victims' families and the country for their failure to outlaw lynching. Courtesy of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Some Exhibits to Come – One Hundred Years of Jim Crow

See a list of of some of the exhibits planned for this gallery.