Is America Burning - a Forum To Discuss Issues

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Skyline - Houston, Texas

Saturday, April 29, 2006

You've Come A Long Way, Baby, But Racism Still Exists.

When the black slaves were freed and the Civil War was over, the loss of free labor was devastating to many whites. Families were left without free household and groundskeeping help.
Businesses were bereft of free laborers. Agribusinesses were especially hard hit when they no longer had free labor in a labor intensive business. Something had to be done, and besides which, the blacks were getting uppity, demanding the rights the government had promised them, and presuming to act like they were as good as whites.

Indeed, something had to be done and a number of state governments took action. Control of the blacks had to be reestablished and citizens (white ones) had to have help. The solution was to pass laws to accomplish both goals and so the Black Codes of 1865 were enacted. Governments have always been able to exert control over citizens of any color by the simple expedient of passing laws that either forced citizens to conform to a certain code of behavior, or the laws made certain actions illegal.

To see what repressions and enforced behaviors were foisted off on the "free" black citizens, read: Black Codes of 1865
For examples of what a few states did:

[ And bear in mind, what government has done before, government can do again. Especially the federal government and most especially a federal government that has seized unprecedented powers, virtually destroyed the Constitution, and tramples on the rights of the people. And enforced indentured labor for all citizens doesn't necessarily have to reserved for blacks].

The Black Codes made way for Jim Crow.

Who and what was Jim Crow?
Jim Crow:

The Black Codes did not go far enough in controlling and dominating the blacks. Further measures had to be taken. When robbing people of their rights and forcing subjugation upon them, it is not unusual for governments to do it in steps, going a little farther each time. Rather like Bush has and is doing to us.

Creation of a Jim Crow South.

Jim Crow Laws
These laws established even greater control and subjugation over blacks and enforced even greater segregation of the races.
Blacks were no longer slaves but they certainly were not free. They had few rights and the stringent laws that governed their behavior and actions kept them lower than a second class citizen. Unscrupulous whites took every advantage of their dominance over the blacks, and abused them terribly. This continued until the mid sixties when the Civil Rights Movement began.

Back then the custom and the law decreed that "one drop of black blood makes you a nigger".
Back then my bi-racial great-grandson would have been deemed a negro, even though he is fairer than I, blue eyed and blonde. He is an octoroon, one eighth negro. Under the Jim Crow laws, miscegnation was a felony. My grand daughter, my son, Granny's son would have been punished severely for marrying a bi-racial person. The bi-racial man who married my grand-daughter and the women who married mine and Granny's sons would have been punished even worse. The bi-racial man who married my grand daughter would have been lynched for daring to lay hands on a white woman; it would have been called rape. Marriage between whites and people of color was not recognized.

State laws varied and some states relaxed their laws to a certain extent, but segregation was still practised. Granny and I lived during this time and saw the Civil Rights Movement unfold. You may hear mention or read in school books about Rosa Parks refusing to sit in the back of the bus. Gasp!! The little black girl that had to be escorted into school by National Guardsmen when the federal government ordered that schools be desegregated. It was the end of civilization!! Blacks going to school with whites!! The sit in at a lunch counter - blacks actually dared to try to eat at a white establishment and sit at the very counter!! And some blacks even drank from a whites only water fountain! You may read of it or hear something during Black History Month, but Granny and I lived through those times. And a little black teenager murdered because he allegedly whistled at a white woman. No, Jim Crow was alive and well up to the 60s. And there were martyrs. The white Civil Rights adherents who came south to declare their solidarity with the blacks - murdered. And do you think Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated because he stepped on someone's bubble gum?

Any accusation by a white was automatically a guilty ruling, if not by law, by custom. Minor offenses were punished severely and even by lynching. Read on. Check out those laws. Lynching was a terror tactic, a hard form of intimidation to keep blacks in line. It was practised all too often and many innocent people died horribly. Torture, mutilation and burning alive were not uncommon.
Go to April archives to read remaining articles of this series of posts


  • At Saturday, April 29, 2006 1:49:00 PM , Blogger JBlue said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At Saturday, April 29, 2006 1:51:00 PM , Blogger JBlue said...

    There must be something to that synchronicity theory, WA, because I was just reading (not even an hour ago) some of Gwendolyn Brooks, including this:

    The Last Quatrain of the Ballad of Emmett Till

    after the murder,
    after the burial

    Emmett's mother is a pretty-faced thing;
    the tint of pulled taffy.
    She sits in a red room,
    drinking black coffee.
    She kisses her killed boy.
    And she is sorry.
    Chaos in windy grays
    through a red prairie.

    Also, in the fall, I will teach U.S. History for the first time in more than 10 years. Needless to say, I feel a bit rusty.

    Nice post.

    (That was my comment before this. I type like I have 5 thumbs some days.)

  • At Saturday, April 29, 2006 5:35:00 PM , Blogger Worried said...

    PS. I must get and read that book.
    It sounds as if Emment's mother was one of those light skinned almost white mulattoes called "high yellow". But no matter how white or almost white one appeared, just"one drop" of african blood made them a "nigger", and therefore inferior, less-than.

    I look at my 1/8th black great grandson with his very white skin, blue eys and blonde hair, at Granny's little great grand daughters and think what their life would have been like in the bad old days. Theirs and countless others like them. Like all the ones who fled north to "pass" as whites, their deperation so great that they forsake home and family forever, never able to return for fear of discovery.

    I think of the culture of slave days and know that my great grandson and granny's little girls would have sold for a premium price, to god know what ends. The little girls may have been gussied up and presented at a Quadroon's Ball, to be selected as some rich white man's "mistress"; in todays idiom a sex slave or toy. Yet that was preferable to the alternative as a regular slave.

  • At Saturday, April 29, 2006 10:06:00 PM , Blogger Granny said...

    I told WA in email that I week when I think of Marian Anderson eating a cold sandwich outside a train station in the south while Italian prisoners of war were being fed a hot meal inside.

    She's right about my girls too. They may face some of it but at least not that.

  • At Sunday, April 30, 2006 1:00:00 AM , Blogger achromic said...

    I cannot even grasp living in a time where black and whites could not marry and there were not biracial triracial children running around beutiful, laughing, wonderful children. That doesn't mean I have not seen racism. I have watched myself be promoted simply because I was the only white person that applied for the job....... even if I wasn't capable of doing the job. I have watched while my friends and my spouse got pulled over while driving with an african american in NJ. What is worse tho' what is far far worse...... is what we are presently doing to the illegel immegrents NOW. We should know better...... we should know that they are LIEING to us.... we could solve most of the illegel immegration problems if we were willing to STOP useing people as slaves. We could have open boarders..... and yes there would be a time of adjustment but we WOULD adjust.... IF we were willing to do without slavery. It is horrible...... so so horrible. Sometimes I am so very very ashamed to be white.


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