Sample Jim Crow Laws

After the Civil War, white leaders in states throughout the country passed laws to maintain segregation or separation between white people and African Americans as well as other minority groups. As you can see from the following examples, the Jim Crow laws affected every aspect of daily life:


Sports: It shall be unlawful for any amateur white baseball team to play baseball on any vacant lot or baseball diamond within two blocks of a playground devoted to the Negro race, and it shall be unlawful for any amateur colored baseball team to play baseball in any vacant lot or baseball diamond within two blocks of any playground devoted to the white race.


Railroads: All railroad companies and corporations, and all persons running or operating cars or coaches by steam on any railroad line or track in the State of Maryland, for the transportation of passengers, are hereby required to provide separate cars or coaches for the travel and transportation of white and colored passengers.


Education: Separate schools shall be maintained for the children of the white and colored races….The word “white race” used in this section is limited to the Caucasian race, and the term “colored races” is used in contradistinction of the white race and embraces all other races.

South Carolina

Lunch Counters: No persons, firms, or corporations, who or which furnish meals to passengers at station restaurants or station eating houses, in times limited by common carriers of said passengers, shall furnish said meals to white and colored passengers in the same room, or at the same table, or at the same counter.


Library: Any white person of such county may use the county free library under the rules and regulations prescribed by the commissioners court and may be entitled to all the privileges thereof. Said court shall make proper provision for the negroes of said county to be served through a separate branch or branches of the county free library, which shall be administered by a custodian of the negro race under the supervision of the county librarian.


Entertainment: Any public hall, theatre, opera house, motion picture show or any place of public entertainment or public assemblage which is attended by both white and colored persons, shall separate the white race and the colored race.


Marriage: All marriages of white persons with Negroes, Mulattos, Mongolians, or Malaya hereafter contracted in the state of Wyoming are and shall be illegal and void.

The education laws were declared unconstitutional in 1954. However, in some states like Mississippi, it took many more years for the schools to actually desegregate. The other Jim Crow laws were repealed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, except for the marriage law, which was not repealed until 1967.

The laws listed above were compiled by the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site of the National Park Service.