Who Was "Jim Crow"?Google Questions
Cover to an early edition of "Jump Jim Crow" sheet music (c 1832) -- Wikipedia
Jim Crow laws, as most Americans should (hopefully) know, were the racist segregation laws which cemented white supremacy over African Americans throughout the United States from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 to the civil rights movement’s victories in the mid-1960s.
But who the heck was Jim Crow, and why did his name grace some of the most odious laws in American history?
Jim Crow was not actually a person—the name comes from an 1828 show by Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice. Rice, in a proto-minstrel act, would put on blackface and sing “Jump Jim Crow,” with the refrain:
Wheel about, an' turn about, an' do jis so;
Eb'ry time I wheel about, I jump Jim Crow.
The song was quite popular in the early half of the 1800s, and “Jim Crow” quickly became a disparaging term for blacks, but it wasn’t until toward the end of the century that the name was applied to the various post-Reconstruction “black codes” in the South (the New York Times referred to Louisiana’s “‘Jim Crow’ Law” as early as 1892).
comments powered by Disqus
- With Students Back on Campus, Faculty Push Back Against COVID Policies They Consider Inadequate
- How Hong Kong's Elite Have Embraced a Shifting Narrative on Tiananmen Square
- Discovery of Human Footprints Pushes Back Date of Earliest Humans in Americas
- Ghana, WEB DuBois Museum Foundation to Partner on Museum, Research Center
- George Holliday Dies at 61, Taped LAPD Beating of Rodney King
- The Curious Task of Preserving Darwin's Beans and Butterflies
- Local Professor Building History of San Diego's Japanese Americans
- Art History Prof. Recognizes Lost Masterpiece in Local Church
- Rebel is Right: Reassessing the Cultural Revolution
- US COVID Death Count Surpasses Estimates of 1918 Influenza