Sometimes, it can be difficult to comprehend that less than just fifty years ago, African-Americans were not afforded the same rights as Caucasian individuals in the United States. Before the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed, it was legal to discriminate against other people — simply because their skin was darker in color.
Though attitudes (for the most part) have drastically changed in the years that have passed, symptoms of systemic racism, which largely resulted from the Jim Crow laws, persist. Colored people were granted their basic rights and freedom, but blatantly racist laws and policies were still passed.
“Redlining,” for instance, went on until the 1980’s. The discriminative practice resulted in African-American neighborhoods being “singled” out to receive fewer loans, worse insurance policies, and less healthcare. The repercussions are still being felt today.
In modern-day America, the poverty rates for African Americans is more than double that of white, non-Hispanic individuals (according to 2015 data). Recent reports have also revealed that voter ID laws discriminate against racial minorities to “keep them away from the polls.”
Persistent racism is perhaps most evident in the justice system. As a result of enhanced stereotypes and a failing “war on drugs,” black males aged 15-34 are nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police. The shootings of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and Michael Brown, and the unjust treatment of Sandra Blair — among others, is evidence of this.
Though progress continues to be made on all fronts, the fact that systemic racism exists cannot be ignored. There is division in the United States because change is needed. Until reform is made, tensions between groups with opposing viewpoints will continue to escalate. As a result, sequences such as those which were witnessed during the Jim Crow era may become more prevalent, and that would be a travesty for us all.
Following are 25 heart-wrenching images from the Jim Crow era that are as relevant as ever today: