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Q: Segregation and non African-Americans ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Segregation and non African-Americans
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: pete_sergeant-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 09 Jul 2002 05:45 PDT
Expires: 08 Aug 2002 05:45 PDT
Question ID: 37824
I'm curious to know to what degree Native Americans, Asians, Hispanic
people and so on fitted into former American segregation laws - did
laws about where they could sit on the bus apply to them, and if so,
which? Were the laws different from state to state? I'm especially
interested in Native Americans, but any other information is of
interest. Thanks!
Subject: Re: Segregation and non African-Americans
Answered By: fugitive-ga on 09 Jul 2002 07:16 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

There is quite an extensive history of the application of American
segregation laws to groups other than African Americans, including
Asian Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans (basically, almost
all "non-whites"). The main problem is one of filtering such
information from the broader swath of documents that focus primarily
on African Americans in the southern United States.

I'd like to start by setting a background for the rest of my answer.
By the nature of this question I think it better to point you to a
number of resources, showing you how to effectively retrieve such
items, rather than just cutting and pasting. I'll point out specific
web pages and sites of particular use and describe them for you.

First, these laws were indeed primarily state and local laws with wide
variation from locality to locality. In the end, their validity was
either held up or struck down by rulings by the United States Supreme
Court. The "separate but equal" doctrine allowing segregated schools
initially upheld by the Supreme Court was later struck down by that
same court.

Second, as with all laws, one sees change over time as the laws change
- sometimes the laws were made more stringent over time, sometimes
they were lessened. Because of this problem of place and time, there
is no easy way to generalize absolutely about the impact of such laws
on specific groups over the entire United States. The best way to
focus on specifics is to deal with a single group in a single state.
For example, the impact of segregation laws on native americans in
Alaska during the 20th century.

A very useful term to utilize when you're searching for information is
the term:

	"jim crow"

Here's a good definition of "Jim Crow Laws" from:

	Who Was Jim Crow?

"The name Jim Crow is often used to describe the segregation laws,
rules, and customs which arose after Reconstruction ended in 1877 and
continued until the mid-1960s."

FYI, Jim Crow was a character in what were called "Black Minstrel

Though primarily referring to oppressive laws targeting African
Americans, the term is often used broadly to describe laws targeting
any racial group.

Since Jim Crow laws refer to what you have described as "American
segregation laws" you can do a very useful search of
using the following terms (type in all punctuation, including " and +

	+"native americans" +"jim crow"

One of the first documents I retrieved doing the above search was:

	Racism in Alaska - Jim Crow Laws

This page links to a number of articles and excerpts from articles
discussing racism against Native Americans in general, with a focus on
laws and legislation against Native Americans. For example, it was
illegal for Alaskan  natives to establish mining claims!

Since the laws definitely did vary from state to state (see above),
one of the best approaches is to do searches including terms that
refer to states that have large Native American populations, as well
as holding historic relationships with the Native American
populations. The main ones that come to mind for me are:


There are many more, but these states have particularly strong
historic ties to their Native American populations. One would normally
have to do searches for individual states to find out the specifics
regarding segregation laws for that state. Here's an example:

	+arizona +"jim crow"

This will turn up all mentions of "jim crow" (thus, segregation laws)
where the term "arizona" also occurs. This specific search turned up
another useful document:

	Examples of Jim Crow Laws

within which we find a law in Arizona where whites are prohibited from
marrying anyone with a "Negro,  Mongolian, Malay, or Hindu"
background! The same document lists laws in other states which
primarily mention African Americans, but you can cull through them for
wording that indicates that all non-whites were subject to many of
these laws. Georgia, for example, had a blanket proscription against
marriage by whites to anyone who wasn't white.  "It shall be unlawful
for a white person to marry anyone except a white person. Any marriage
in violation of this section shall be void."

In general, there is sparse mention of other races. It must be
understood, however, that the application of the law was always open
to interpretation. If local authorities wished to consider Native
Americans as "colored" they could easily apply existing segregation
laws meant to oppress African Americans to this other group. Laws
targeting African Americans were often applied to all non-whites
simply as a matter of practice.

You can find information specifically on what were called the "Black
Codes" and look at the available text, again, to determine if the
wording was broad enough, or directed to, groups other than African
Americans. Though the "Black Codes" (again) target one specific group,
they can illuminate the broader picture. This is one of the few areas
on the web where you can look at source materials on your subject. One
such site which points to the specific text of these "Black Codes" for
selected states:

	Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws

Again, when you read some of the actual laws you will seldom see
proscriptions against groups other than African Americans.

As an alternative to searching the web for individual mentions of
historic laws, you may want to see if you can get the following book
from a nearby library:

University of Georgia Press ISBN 0-8203-1883-3

"This remarkable, hard-to-find resource is an exhaustive compilation
of state laws and local ordinances in effect in 1950 that mandated
racial segregation and of pre-Brown-era civil rights legislation. The
volume cites legislation from forty-eight states and the District of
Columbia, and ordinances of twenty-four major cities across the
country. The complete text of each law or ordinance is included, along
with occasional notes about its history and the extent to which it was

There were various editions of this book. Ignore the "hard-to-find
resource" note: a search of the OCLC WorldCat online catalog indicates
that almost 400 libraries in the United States and Canada own this
book. You should have little problem getting this work, and it appears
to have the source materials wherein you can look at the actual
wording of the laws to determine the differences of law from state to

I hope this helps you in your research, and urge you to not hesitate
to ask for clarification if you wish more information in a specific
area (e.g., for a specific tribe, specific state, specific time
period, etc.).  I hope that I've given you the resources you need to
tackle this broad and fascinating topic!

pete_sergeant-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Excellent answer. Thanks!

There are no comments at this time.

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