.How to Teach a Child About Jim Crow Laws
Jim Crow laws were laws enacted at the local and state level that established separate but equal conditions for black Americans in the South. Because the laws were discriminatory to blacks, teaching children about them may be tougher than other history lessons. However, they are part of American history and children need to learn the good and bad parts of history.
Explain Jim Crow laws began in the south after the United States freed the slaves who were owned by Southern farmers. The laws started being passed in 1876.
Tell the children what Jim Crow laws did. Explain how they legally separated African Americans in public and private places, referring to it as segregation.
Provide some examples of Jim Crow laws. For instance, in many places black people had to use separate restrooms than white people, separate drinking fountains and sit at the back of the bus if they were allowed on at all. Businesses, such as restaurants, had to serve white people and black people in separate rooms, or could choose to serve only white or only black people.
Teach the children that the Jim Crow laws did not create equal conditions for white and black people because of segregation. Explain that the separate conditions blacks were given often were not as nice as what white people received. Use the example of blacks having to sit at the back of the bus as opposed to the front, which is where whites got to sit.
Explain why Jim Crow laws were allowed in the lesson. Explain that after slavery was outlawed some people in the South did not understand blacks were people just like them and deserved equal rights. Tell them some people still today fail to understand this, but that we have come along away.
Give the children some idea of how Jim Crow laws ended. In the lesson, explain Jim Crow laws were outlawed by the United States government in 1964 when President Lyndon Johnson and Congress passed what was called the Civil Rights Act. The Civil Rights Act states blacks deserved equal rights and that segregation is unconstitutional.
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