Jim Crow Law In Education
In the American history, Jim Crow referred to the racial groups that operated between 1877 and in the mid 1960s. The Jim crow laws were initiated by white politicians who came from the south with an aim of limiting the blacks voting rights as well as shielding them from engaging themselves in various aspects of life which could see them interacting with the white. The consequences that came about as a result of this set of rules was the formation of a society where by the white race and the black race were segregated from one another in the southern region. Jim crow did not exclusively apply in the southern parts or the border states. During its operational times, Jim crow law was viewed as something that was plotted just to discriminate the blacks in all aspects of life and Africans living in America were viewed as people from a second class of citizens. These law encouraged racism to greater heights which saw a lot of African undergoing through lot of discriminations. People who had been given the mandate of enlightening the society such as theologians discriminated against the Africans by telling the whites they were the chosen people whereas the blacks were just a cursed generation that was designed to serve the whites. They also taught the white that, God was in support of racial segregation. Many more other people who were in the educational sector told the whites that Africans were innately intellectually and culturally inferior to the whites. This was further extended to political spheres and the political leaders of those days were over heard saying that there was a great danger if the whites were allowed to interact with the Africans freely and therefore called for segregation between the two racial groups. The media sector on the other hand used their resources to talk ill of the blacks and called them names which identified them as an out caste in the American society. Due to the power of the media, racial discrimination towards the blacks was made worse a factor that made all groups in the society to turn against the blacks.
A number of rationales were used by the whites to justify why they were discriminative against the blacks. The whites saw themselves as being more superior to the blacks in all ways, ranging from intelligence, morals and civilization and the whites agued that in any situation where the whites could be allowed to inter breed with the blacks, it would have serious repercussions to whites as the resultant race would destroy the white race. Any attempt to treat the blacks equally with the whites was seen as an avenue that could bring about interbreeding between the two races which forced the whites to use violent means in order to put the Africans off from such kind of interactions that would encourage sexual relationships.
Despite the fact that the laws were applied in a territory that was foreign to the Africans, most of them were forced to adapt to the conditions that were in existence during that era but others were very active in demanding for their rights. Individuals, groups, courts and mass actions were used as avenues for expressing dissatisfaction with the Jim crow rules. One of the famous individuals in the American history who was in the forefront in fighting for the African American rights was Booker T. Washington who was a great proponent of “vocational” education during his career of teaching in his home state.
At the end of the nineteenth century, many arguments came about regarding the type of education the former slaves would be given. This issue was of controversy because most of the whites more so those from the south were focused on using the blacks as a source of labor force to in their agricultural sectors and they strongly believed that a superficial knowledge in reading, writing and rithmetic was enough for the former slaves but needed to be taught on practical skills in farming and in the industrial arts more than anything else. The whites were further convinced that the vocational schools that were been proposed by the likes of Booker would serve to benefit both the whites and the blacks in the south. Booker who was a great educationist during this era was highly motivated by this move and he was not hesitant in coming up with a black vocational school which was named Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and worked with others of a similar mind from the Northern region to raise funds for the development of the vocational institution. Booker played a key role in convincing the white people that, the African Americans were not after gaining equality with the whites but their focus was on the economic security of the southern. Booker and his fellow educationist from Harvard DuBois were for a long time in agreement as far as education status during the Jim crow era was concerned but their disagreement arose after Booker released his book, Souls of Black Folk where DuBois was strongly opposed to Bookers philosophy as far as vocational education was concerned. DuBois argued that Booker’s philosophy was short sighted and was in favor of the white race to continue with their racism. DiBois opinion was that, the black people should concentrate on an art based education that would be of great importance in assisting the blacks in fighting for their civil rights during the Jim era and in later days to come. Despite the differences between the two educationists, the vocational institution that had been pioneered by Booker continued to flourish even after his death, but DuBois and his fellow African Americans of similar mind continued with their fight for a more conducive environment for the African Americans.
When the African Americans were set free from slavery, people who had worked as slaves were focused on going beyond the control of their former white masters. The first move that they made was to vacate from the plantations where they had lived during their days of slavery to seek work in other areas. They were forced to move out of the churches where they congregated with the whites to churches that were only comprised of the black people. The African Americans had a strong feeling that, their children were safe when they were in all black schools where only African American teachers were available to teach them. The worst thing that later followed this move was that, the whites from the southern who were in control of the politics of that time made a move to amend the law to have African Americans have their education separate from the whites. This gave the white the power not to fund African American schools which made the black education to suffer from a major set back and was left to depend on the local community for assistance.
Despite this major set back in the black’s education, majority of African American parents were highly convinced that their children deserved to leave a better life than that their parents went through and saw education as the only way that would make the life of their children better. Determined parents from the southern who worked as farmers cooperated with people of good will such as Julius Rosenwald, and contributed in building of new schools in their local areas. The blacks contributed labor force while Julius gave them material support. The development of these local schools motivated the African American teachers, since they enjoyed unlimited freedom in their work place.
In the early 1950’s an important turn of events took place which saw the beginning of desegregation of American schools. The beginning of this important event in the American history is told in a story of young African American girl who had to walk for more than a mile in order to attend a black’s school while the local white school was just down the road. After an attempt by the girl’s father to secure a vacancy for her daughter in the neighboring white’s school failed, he was forced to take the issue the court of law in order to get justice for that discriminating act. This move was later to be known as the Brown versus Board of education ruling which up to date is still viewed as one of the greatest moves undertaken in an attempt to fight for equality in American education sector. The court admitted that, segregation of schools was unconstitutional and it was a threat to American education. Several other cases similar to that of Brown versus Board of education followed later but all derived their inspiration from Brown’s case ruling. One such case saw the integration at the University of Georgia after the court ruled that the complainants were fully qualified to secure a place in the University. After their admission into the university, they realized that the white students were not welcoming the idea of desegregating the learning institutions and they were met with a lot of hostility from the white students. Through the assistance of the police and members of the faculty, the black students were able to complete their university education but they pointed out that discrimination was persistent and it would set a bad example that could be followed by African American.