Segregation | National Humanities Center

TeacherServe Essays


By Lawson, Steven F. (NHC Fellow, 1987–88)

Before the Civil War, segregation existed mainly in cities in both the North and the South. In the years immediately after the Civil War segregation eased somewhat. In the 1880s legislation strengthened segregation in the South. By the 1890s it had become entrenched. In the North, while legislation combated segregation, African Americans were still kept separate and apart from whites. In 1896, the federal government sanctioned racial segregation, fashioning the constitutional rationale for keeping the races legally apart. Plessy v. Ferguson was based upon a belief in white supremacy. In the South segregation prevailed unabated from the 1890s to the 1950s. The bedrock of Jim Crow began to crack after World War II. The struggle against Nazi racism in Europe called attention to racism in America.

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History / Education Studies / Racial Segregation / Racial Discrimination / Racism / American History / African American History /