Jim Crow And The Civil Rights Movement

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On February 26, 1926 Charles G. Woddson started the Negro History Week, which coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Now, this week has grown into Black History Month, which is celebrated during the duration of February. During this month, the history of African Americans is recognized and discussed. While African-American history dates back to the 1500s, many focus on the era during the Civil Rights Movement. During this time, Jim Crow laws were heavily enforced, but where did these Jim Crow laws come from? Why were these oppressive laws named Jim Crow? While many people have heard of Jim Crow laws, most do not know or understand the origins, history, affects, and aftermaths of this infamous name. The name Jim Crow was not randomly chosen. During the 1830s, Thomas D. Rice, a white entertainer and playwright, became famous because of his black-face comedic act, Jim Crow. Jim Crow was the portrayal of a black slave. Rice would dress in threadbare clothing, a tattered hat, and worn-out shoes. He would blacken his face and hands, and would sing, “Turn about and wheel about, and do just so. Every time I wheel about, I jump Jim Crow.” Rice would impersonate the speech and dancing of African Americans. Jim Crow was his most successful act, and Rice even travelled to London to perform his impersonation. Due to his success, Rice changed his billing to “Thomas ‘Jim Crow’ Rice.” While there is not solid story of how the name Jim Crow came about, Rice
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