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Bell & McFalls

The sign pictured above would have been commonly seen throughout America,

especially in the South. Southern Democrats called for the end of Reconstruction with

Rutherford B. Hayes election. Subsequently, when Hayes entered office, he pulled out the

remaining federal troops from the South. This was known as the Compromise of 1877. This

compromise ended a decade of Radical Republican control in the southern states. Because Hayes

removed the remaining troops, people in the South stopped enforcing the federal civil rights

laws. This meant the Ku Klux Klan began to terrorize Blacks and their supports again.

Years after the Democrats regained control of the South, segregation and

disenfranchisement laws were implemented throughout the region. These laws were nicknamed

as Jim Crow. These laws represented a formal, codified system of racial apartheid that

dominated the American South for three quarters of a century beginning in the 1890s(Jim

Crow Laws). Jim Crow laws affected the daily lives of Americans greatly. Schools, restrooms,

buses, parks, restaurants, and more were segregated. These facilities were known to be separate
Bell & McFalls

but equal. Many places would have Whites Only and Colored signs like the one pictured

above to remind people of the enforced racial order.

This sign would have been used to direct people of color and whites to the restroom

they were to use. Although facilities like public restrooms were supposed to be separate but

equal, many of the times these places were far from equal. The conditions of the facilities and

services were far lower for colored people than they were for whites.

This artifact is historically significant, because it reminds us of the time when we let one

race control how others lived. It is important not to forget the mistakes of our past, and how we

came to learn from them. This idea can be implemented in the classroom by showing students

how something as simple as a sign could impact how others act or feel. This would be a great

opportunity to have students write in a journal about how segregation signs would make them

feel if they had lived during the Jim Crow Era.


Bell & McFalls

Works Cited

Jim Crow Laws. (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2017, from

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/freedom-riders-jim-crow-laws/

Link to Photo: https://i.pinimg.com/236x/13/3b/6c/133b6c74a447175547e23b4beac67477--

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