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Jim Crow Finds Its Roots In The Old Jingle Mocking Black

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Jim Crow finds its roots in the old jingle mocking black men titled “Jump Jim Crow.” The song, performed by the white Thomas D. Rice covered in blackface, was meant to mock Andrew
Jackson and his policies which were popular among populist voters (Woodward 2001). In a way, this event gave way for white Americans to ridicule their black counterparts using the phrase
‘Jim Crow’ to single them out for their blackness as opposed the increasingly unpopular use of the word ‘Negro. ' Over the next several decades, we saw the rapid decline of what little rights black Americans had and a drastic increase in incarceration of the same black Americans.
These set of laws and institutions that dismantled the humanity of blacks came to be known as the Jim
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The numbers do not make sense, America has less than half the population of China, yet has almost twice as many people imprisoned. How did we end up in this predicament? In the 2011 Report to the Congress: Mandatory Minimum
Penalties in the Federal Criminal Justice System, we can see a striking change in the focus of the criminal justice system throughout history (2011). In 1951, Congress reformed the way mandatory minimum sentences work in the United States. They did this through three key steps: first, they enacted more mandatory minimums that previously did not exist for many crimes. For many, this was seen as a tough stance against crime and overall a good decision. Second, minimum penalties were applied to many crimes that previously had no minimum sentence such as possession of controlled substances and firearms. For reference, crimes that have historically included a mandatory minimum are murder, treason, piracy, rape, slavery, and tax evasion. Third, mandatory minimum sentences were to be increased in length. In 1950, the percentage of whites in state and federal prisons was a staggering sixty-nine percent, and by
1960 that percentage had dropped three points to sixty-six percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of blacks in prisons had increased from thirty to thirty-two percent, a two-point increase. This small increase in percentage may not seem like a statistically significant number, but it serves to
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