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Segregation and The Civil Rights Movement Segregation was an attempt by white Southerners to separate the races in every sphere of life and to achieve supremacy over blacks Segregation was often called the Jim Crow system after a minstrel show character from the 1830s who was an old crippled black slave who embodied negative stereotypes of blacks Segregation became common in Southern states following the end of Reconstruction in 1877 During Reconstruction which followed the Civil War 1861-1865 Republican governments in the Southern states were run by blacks Northerners and some sympathetic Southerners The Reconstruction governments had passed laws opening up economic and political opportunities for blacks By 1877 the Democratic Party had gained control of government in the Southern states and these Southern Democrats wanted to reverse black advances made during Reconstruction To that end they began to pass local and state laws that specified certain places For Whites Only and others for Colored Blacks had separate schools transportation restaurants and parks many of which were poorly funded and inferior to those of whites Over the next 75 years Jim Crow signs went up to separate the races in every possible place The system of segregation also included the denial of voting rights known as disfranchisement Between 1890 and 1910 all Southern states passed laws imposing requirements for voting that were used to prevent blacks from voting in spite of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which had been designed to protect black voting rights These requirements included the ability to read and write which disqualified the many blacks who had not had access to education property ownership something few blacks were able to acquire and paying a poll tax which was too great a burden on most Southern blacks who were very poor As a final insult the few blacks who made it over all these hurdles could not vote in the Democratic primaries that chose the
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