BAD DECISIONS MAKE BAD LAW (Illustration) American History Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Civil Rights Government Law and Politics Slaves and Slave Owners Social Studies Nineteenth Century Life African American History Ethics

During Reconstruction of the South, African-Americans began to migrate to other parts of the country. This 1890 map— "Statistical Atlas of the United States Based on the Results of the Eleventh Census. Plate 11"—is part of the 1890 census. According to the map’s title, it shows “Proportion of the Colored to the Aggregate Population 1890.” The original lithograph was published by the U.S. Government Printing Office, in Washington, during 1898. Click on the image for a better view. Online, Library of Congress.


As the South got back on its feet, former slaves and their descendants were in for eighty more years of oppression and humiliation. America was just beginning her own version of "Apartheid" (the Afrikaans word for "separateness").

Even as the United States integrated the South, it segregated black Americans. As the Union repatriated the South, the South subjugated blacks (with the blessing of the federal legal system).

How could American apartheid exist in light of the Bill of Rights? How could "legal" segregation occur when Congress had passed Constitutional Amendments to protect the former slaves and their descendants?

Did the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery forever, have no meaning?

Didn't the 14th Amendment guarantee due process to all people?

If the 15th Amendment (this is the original resolution) granted black men the right to vote, how could anyone ever suggest that American law had once created a system of apartheid?

Because ... America also had what came to be known as "Jim Crow" laws.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Aug 01, 2005

Updated Last Revision: Feb 04, 2015

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"BAD DECISIONS MAKE BAD LAW" AwesomeStories.com. Aug 01, 2005. Jan 29, 2020.
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