Examples of U.S. Laws Requiring Racial Segregation (short version, with text supports)
From the 1880s to the mid 1960s, many states passed laws requiring the segregation [separation] of white and "colored" [African American] people. (African Americans were also referred to as Negroes at that time.) These laws ruled nearly all aspects of people's everyday lives, including how they traveled, where they ate, where they went to school, where they sat in movie theaters, and whom they could marry. In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, which banned such state and local laws. (These laws have been paraphrased to assist readers.)
The children of the white and colored races must attend separate schools (17 states)
Schools must provide separate rooms for students of African descent, and such students may not be allowed into the school rooms used by students of Caucasian [white] or other descent. (New Mexico)
Schools for white children and colored children must have their own textbooks, and they can’t be shared. (North Carolina)
White and colored people can’t be served in the same restaurant unless there are separate entrances for them and they are separated by a wall at least seven feet high (Alabama)
White and colored audience members must sit in separate sections at any public hall, theatre, opera house, movie theatre, or place of public entertainment. (Virginia)
Negroes and white persons are not allowed to play cards, dominoes, checkers, baseball, softball, football, basketball, or pool with each other. (Alabama)
All bus and train stations must have separate waiting rooms and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races. (Alabama)
All railroad companies must provide separate train cars for white and colored passengers. (Maryland)
The marriage of a person of Caucasian [white] blood with a Negro is illegal. (Arizona)
The marriage of a white person and a Negro person (defined as having at least one black great grandparent) is illegal. (Mississippi)
Creator | American Social History Project
Rights | Copyright American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Item Type | Laws/Court Cases
Cite This document | American Social History Project, “Examples of U.S. Laws Requiring Racial Segregation (short version, with text supports),” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed May 6, 2021, https://shec.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1890.