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Daily Archives: December 19th, 2020


HISTORY.COM EDITOR

Updated : Dec. 2, 2020, Original: Feb. 28, 2018

CONTENTS

  1. Black Codes
  2. Ku Klux Klan
  3. Jim Crow Laws Expand
  4. Ida B. Wells
  5. Charlotte Hawkins Brown
  6. Isaiah Montgomery
  7. Jim Crow Laws in the 20th Century
  8. Jim Crow in the North
  9. When Did Jim Crow Laws End?
  10. Sources

Jim Crow laws were a collection of state and local statutes that legalized racial segregation. Named after a Black minstrel show character, the laws—which existed for about 100 years, from the post-Civil War era until 1968—were meant to marginalize African Americans by denying them the right to vote, hold jobs, get an education or other opportunities. Those who attempted to defy Jim Crow laws often faced arrest, fines, jail sentences, violence and death.

Black Codes

The roots of Jim Crow laws began as early as 1865, immediately following the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States.

Black codes were strict local and state laws that detailed when, where and how formerly enslaved people could work, and for how much compensation. The codes appeared throughout the South as a legal way to put Black citizens into indentured servitude, to take voting rights away, to control where they lived and how they traveled and to seize children for labor purposes.

The legal system was stacked against Black citizens, with former Confederate soldiers working as police and judges, making it difficult for African Americans to win court cases and ensuring they were subject to Black codes.

These codes worked in conjunction with labor camps for the incarcerated, where prisoners were treated as enslaved people. Black offenders typically received longer sentences than their white equals, and because of the grueling work, often did not live out their entire sentence.

READ MORE: How the Black Codes Limited African American Progress

Ku Klux Klan

During the Reconstruction era, local governments, as well as the national Democratic Party and President Andrew Johnson, thwarted efforts to help Black Americans move forward.

Violence was on the rise, making danger a regular aspect of African American life. Black schools were vandalized and destroyed, and bands of violent white people attacked, tortured and lynched Black citizens in the night. Families were attacked and forced off their land all across the South.

The most ruthless organization of the Jim Crow era, the Ku Klux Klan, was born in 1865 in Pulaski, Tennessee, as a private club for Confederate veterans.

The KKK grew into a secret society terrorizing Black communities and seeping through white Southern culture, with members at the highest levels of government and in the lowest echelons of criminal back alleys.

READ MORE: How Prohibition Fueled the Rise of the KKK

Jim Crow Laws Expand

At the start of the 1880s, big cities in the South were not wholly beholden to Jim Crow laws and Black Americans found more freedom in them.

This led to substantial Black populations moving to the cities and, as the decade progressed, white city dwellers demanded more laws to limit opportunities for African Americans.

Jim Crow laws soon spread around the country with even more force than previously. Public parks were forbidden for African Americans to enter, and theaters and restaurants were segregated.

Segregated waiting rooms in bus and train stations were required, as well as water fountains, restrooms, building entrances, elevators, cemeteries, even amusement-park cashier windows.

Laws forbade African Americans from living in white neighborhoods. Segregation was enforced for public pools, phone booths, hospitals, asylums, jails and residential homes for the elderly and handicapped.

Some states required separate textbooks for Black and white students. New Orleans mandated the segregation of prostitutes according to race. In Atlanta, African Americans in court were given a different Bible from white people to swear on. Marriage and cohabitation between white and Black people was strictly forbidden in most Southern states.

It was not uncommon to see signs posted at town and city limits warning African Americans that they were not welcome there.

READ MORE: How Nazis Were Inspired by Jim Crow Laws

Ida B. Wells

As oppressive as the Jim Crow era was, it was also a time when many African Americans around the country stepped forward into leadership roles to vigorously oppose the laws.

Memphis teacher Ida B. Wells became a prominent activist against Jim Crow laws after refusing to leave a first-class train car designated for white people only. A conductor forcibly removed her and she successfully sued the railroad, though that decision was later reversed by a higher court.

Angry at the injustice, Wells devoted herself to fighting Jim Crow laws. Her vehicle for dissent was newspaper writing: In 1889 she became co-owner of the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight and used her position to take on school segregation and sexual harassment.

Wells traveled throughout the South to publicize her work and advocated for the arming of Black citizens. Wells also investigated lynchings and wrote about her findings.

A mob destroyed her newspaper and threatened her with death, forcing her to move to the North, where she continued her efforts against Jim Crow laws and lynching.

READ MORE: When Ida B. Wells Took on Lynching

Charlotte Hawkins Brown

Charlotte Hawkins Brown was a North Carolina-born, Massachusetts-raised Black woman who returned to her birthplace at the age of 17, in 1901, to work as a teacher for the American Missionary Association.

After funding was withdrawn for that school, Brown began fundraising to start her own school, named the Palmer Memorial Institute.

Brown became the first Black woman to create a Black school in North Carolina and through her education work became a fierce and vocal opponent of Jim Crow laws.

Isaiah Montgomery

Not everyone battled for equal rights within white society—some chose a separatist approach.

Convinced by Jim Crow laws that Black and white people could not live peaceably together, formerly enslaved Isaiah Montgomery created the African American-only town of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, in 1887.

Montgomery recruited other former enslaved people to settle in the wilderness with him, clearing the land and forging a settlement that included several schools, an Andrew Carnegie-funded library, a hospital, three cotton gins, a bank and a sawmill. Mound Bayou still exists today, and is still almost 100 percent Black.

Jim Crow Laws in the 20th Century

As the 20th century progressed, Jim Crow laws flourished within an oppressive society marked by violence.

Following World War I, the NAACP noted that lynchings had become so prevalent that it sent investigator Walter White to the South. White had lighter skin and could infiltrate white hate groups.

READ MORE: See America’s First Memorial to its 4,400 Lynching Victims

As lynchings increased, so did race riots, with at least 25 across the United States over several months in 1919, a period sometimes referred to as “Red Summer.” In retaliation, white authorities charged Black communities with conspiring to conquer white America.

With Jim Crow dominating the landscape, education increasingly under attack and few opportunities for Black college graduates, the Great Migration of the 1920s saw a significant migration of educated Black people out of the South, spurred on by publications like The Chicago Defender, which encouraged Black Americans to move north.

Read by millions of Southern Black people, white people attempted to ban the newspaper and threatened violence against any caught reading or distributing it.

The poverty of the Great Depression only deepened resentment, with a rise in lynchings, and after World War II, even Black veterans returning home met with segregation and violence.

READ MORE: Red Summer of 1919: How Black WWI Vets Fought Back Against Racist Mobs

Jim Crow in the North

The North was not immune to Jim Crow-like laws. Some states required Black people to own property before they could vote, schools and neighborhoods were segregated, and businesses displayed “Whites Only” signs.

READ MORE: The Green Book: The Black Travelers’ Guide to Jim Crow America

In Ohio, segregationist Allen Granbery Thurman ran for governor in 1867 promising to bar Black citizens from voting. After he narrowly lost that political race, Thurman was appointed to the U.S. Senate, where he fought to dissolve Reconstruction-era reforms benefiting African Americans.

After World War II, suburban developments in the North and South were created with legal covenants that did not allow Black families, and Black people often found it difficult or impossible to obtain mortgages for homes in certain “red-lined” neighborhoods.

When Did Jim Crow Laws End?

The post-World War II era saw an increase in civil rights activities in the African American community, with a focus on ensuring that Black citizens were able to vote. This ushered in the civil rights movement, resulting in the removal of Jim Crow laws.

In 1948 President Harry Truman ordered integration in the military, and in 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that educational segregation was unconstitutional, bringing to an end the era of “separate-but-equal” education.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, which legally ended the segregation that had been institutionalized by Jim Crow laws.

And in 1965, the Voting Rights Act halted efforts to keep minorities from voting. The Fair Housing Act of 1968, which ended discrimination in renting and selling homes, followed.

Jim Crow laws were technically off the books, though that has not always guaranteed full integration or adherence to anti-racism laws throughout the United States.

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The New York Times

Is this the real reason TOTUS keeps his name in the headlines? MA.

Shane Goldmacher and Maggie HabermanFri, December 18, 2020, 1:51 PM CST

Election workers during the Fulton County ballot recount in Atlanta on Nov. 14, 2020. (Nicole Craine/The New York Times)
Election workers during the Fulton County ballot recount in Atlanta on Nov. 14, 2020. (Nicole Craine/The New York Times)

Donald J. Trump will exit the White House as a private citizen next month perched atop a pile of campaign cash unheard-of for an outgoing president, and with few legal limits on how he can spend it.

Deflated by a loss he has yet to acknowledge, Trump has cushioned the blow by coaxing huge sums of money from his loyal supporters — often under dubious pretenses — raising roughly $250 million since Election Day along with the national party.

More than $60 million of that sum has gone to a new political action committee, according to people familiar with the matter, which Trump will control after he leaves office. Those funds, which far exceed what previous outgoing presidents had at their disposal, provide him with tremendous flexibility for his post-presidential ambitions: He could use the money to quell rebel factions within the party, reward loyalists, fund his travels and rallies, hire staff, pay legal bills and even lay the groundwork for a far-from-certain 2024 run.

The postelection blitz of fundraising has cemented Trump’s position as an unrivaled force and the preeminent fundraiser of the Republican Party, even in defeat. His largest single day for online donations actually came after Election Day — raising almost $750,000 per hour Nov. 6. So did his second-biggest day. And his third.

“Right now, he is the Republican Party,” said John McLaughlin, a Republican pollster who worked on Trump’s reelection campaign. “The party knows that virtually every dollar they’ve raised in the last four years, it’s because of Donald Trump.”

Trump has long acted with few inhibitions when it comes to spending other people’s money, and he has spent millions of campaign dollars on his own family businesses in the last five years. But new records show an even more intricate intermingling of Trump’s political and familial interests than was previously known.

Lara Trump, Trump’s daughter-in-law and a senior campaign adviser, served on the board — and was named on drafts of the incorporation papers — of a limited liability company through which the Trump political operation spent more than $700 million since 2019, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times.

The arrangement has never been disclosed. One of the other board members and signatories in the draft papers of the LLC, American Made Media Consultants, was John Pence, the nephew of Vice President Mike Pence and a senior Trump adviser. The LLC has been criticized for purposefully obscuring the ultimate destination of hundreds of millions of dollars of spending.

Lara Trump and John Pence were originally listed as president and vice president on the incorporation papers, documents reviewed by the Times showed. Sean Dollman, the campaign chief financial officer, was the AMMC treasurer.

“Lara Trump and John Pence resigned from the AMMC board in October 2019 to focus solely on their campaign activities; however, there was never any ethical or legal reason why they could not serve on the board in the first place,” said Tim Murtaugh, a spokesperson for Trump. “John and Lara were not compensated by AMMC for their service as board members.” Murtaugh also said the two were not compensated for other positions they were listed as holding.

For Trump, the quarter-billion dollars he and the party raised over six weeks is enough to pay off all of his remaining campaign bills and to fund his fruitless legal challenges and still leave tens of millions of dollars.

Trump’s plans, however, remain extremely fluid. His refusal to accept Joe Biden’s victory has stunted internal political planning, aides say, with some advisers in his shrinking circle of confidants hesitant to even approach him about setting a course of action for 2021 and beyond.

Those who have spoken with Trump say he appears shrunken, and over his job; this detachment is reflected in a Twitter feed that remains stubbornly more focused on unfounded allegations of fraud than on the death toll from the raging pandemic.

Trump has talked about running again in 2024 — but he also may not. He has created this new PAC, but a different political entity could still be in the works, people involved in the discussions said. Talk of counterprogramming Biden’s inauguration with a splashy event or an announcement of his own is currently on hold.

Trump had been tentatively planning to go to Georgia on Saturday, according to a senior Republican official, to support the two Republicans in Senate runoff races there. But he is still angry at the state’s Republican governor and secretary of state for accepting the election result and simply doesn’t want to make the trip. There is some discussion about him going after the Christmas holiday, but it’s not clear he will be in a more magnanimous mood by then.

But even as he displays indifference toward the Georgia races, the Trump political apparatus has taken advantage of the grassroots energy and excitement over the two runoffs to juice its own fundraising. Email and text solicitations have pitched Trump supporters to give to a “Georgia Election Fund,” even though no funds go directly to either Republican senator on the ballot, irritating some Senate GOP strategists.

Instead, the fine print shows 75% of the donations to the Georgia fund go to Trump’s new PAC, called Save America, with 25% to the Republican National Committee.

After weeks of shouting “FRAUD” to supporters in emails and asking them to back an “Election Defense Fund” (which also sent 75% of donations to his new PAC), the Trump operation has subtly shifted its tone and focus, returning to more sustainable preelection themes, like hawking signed hats and opposing socialism.

Trump and the RNC did spend about $15 million combined in legal costs and other spending related to disputing the election between Oct. 15 and Nov. 23, according to federal records.

Besides a $3 million payment to Wisconsin to fund a partial recount in the state, Trump’s largest recount-related payment did not go to attorney fees but to American Made Media Consultants, the Trump-linked LLC on which Lara Trump was listed an original signatory. The firm received $2.2 million Nov. 12 in two payments labeled “SMS advertising,” better known as text messaging.

American Made Media Consultants was the subject of a complaint to the Federal Election Commission earlier this year that accused it of “laundering” funds to obscure the ultimate beneficiary of Trump campaign spending. Federal records show the firm had more than $700 million in funds flow through it since 2019. The vast majority of funds were spent before Lara Trump resigned from the board.

For a sense of scale of just how much money Donald Trump will have at his disposal, the new Trump PAC’s $60 million-plus haul — and counting — is about as much money as he spent to win his party’s presidential nomination in 2016.

Some campaign finance experts have speculated that Trump might try to use the excess of cash in his new PAC, formally known as a leadership PAC, to pay for his own personal future legal quagmires as he faces investigations once he leaves office. (A senior Trump adviser said they don’t expect the money to be used for personal legal needs.)

“A leadership PAC is a slush fund,” said Meredith McGehee, executive director of Issue One, a group that supports increased political transparency. “There are very, very, very few limits on what he can’t spend money on.”

In the last five years, Trump has never shied from spending hundreds of thousands of dollars from his contributors on his private businesses, a practice he could continue or expand while out of office.

Just since mid-October, the Trump Victory Committee, a joint account operated with the RNC, has paid more than $710,000 to the Trump Hotel Collection, while his reelection account has continued to pay more than $37,000 per month to rent space in Trump Tower.

It is not clear where his post-presidential operation will be based or who will run it, although several advisers expect it will be in Florida, where he is planning to move.

But as a former president, Trump will be allocated a certain amount of taxpayer money for staff and office space for life after leaving the White House, and he is beginning to have discussions about which aides from the West Wing will accompany him.

His senior political advisers — Bill Stepien, Justin Clark and Jason Miller, among others — are among those who may stay involved with him politically.

While Trump’s post-presidency remains largely shapeless, he has demonstrated his desire to exert his control on national politics, especially among Republicans.

He has already endorsed Ronna McDaniel, a close ally, to serve another term as chair of the RNC. He has floated primary challenges to Republicans, such as Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who have crossed him by rejecting his baseless theories of election fraud. He has even asked aides how he can retain control of the party if he isn’t a candidate.

One person close to Trump said that he has sounded less certain about declaring he’s running in 2024 than he had just two weeks ago. That uncertainty is causing anxiety for a number of advisers and aides to the president, some of whom might join other campaigns but are stuck in limbo until Trump makes up his mind. Announcing for president would trigger tighter rules on Trump’s political spending and added financial disclosures, including of Trump’s personal finances, that simply operating a PAC would not.

Trump’s future ambitions have also created a cloud over who exactly will control some of the most valuable assets from the 2020 campaign, including Trump’s lengthy list of supporters from whom he has raised hundreds of millions of dollars. Both the RNC and Trump are entitled to some of this valuable voter data, and efforts at “decoupling” the data are underway but expected to last months.

The RNC has typically stayed out of presidential primaries, but no former president in the modern era has seriously considered running again after losing reelection, putting the party apparatus in uncharted territory. His embrace of McDaniel as an ally in running the party could further complicate matters.

“There’s no bully pulpit as large as the presidency, but nevertheless, President Trump is likely to play a significant role in the future of the Republican Party,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. “It’s very difficult to imagine him following the same pattern as George W. Bush, Barack Obama and other presidents have followed in keeping their mouths shut and letting the new president try to govern.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

© 2020 The New York Times Company

Chris Britt Comic Strip for December 18, 2020
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