As a final insult, the few blacks who made it over all these hurdles could not vote in the Democratic primaries that chose the candidates because they were open only to whites in most Southern states.
Because blacks could not vote, they were virtually powerless to prevent whites from segregating all aspects of Southern life.
They had to compete with large numbers of recent European immigrants for job opportunities and almost always lost.
Blacks fought against discrimination whenever possible. In the late 1800s blacks sued in court to stop separate seating in railroad cars, states’ disfranchisement of voters, and denial of access to schools and restaurants.
However, black soldiers were segregated, denied the opportunity to be leaders, and were subjected to racism within the armed forces.
During the war, hundreds of thousands of Southern blacks migrated northward in 19 to take advantage of job openings in Northern cities created by the war.Between 18 all Southern states passed laws imposing requirements for voting that were used to prevent blacks from voting, in spite of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which had been designed to protect black voting rights.These requirements included: the ability to read and write, which disqualified the many blacks who had not had access to education; property ownership, something few blacks were able to acquire; and paying a poll tax, which was too great a burden on most Southern blacks, who were very poor.By 1877 the Democratic Party had gained control of government in the Southern states, and these Southern Democrats wanted to reverse black advances made during Reconstruction.To that end, they began to pass local and state laws that specified certain places “For Whites Only” and others for “Colored.” Blacks had separate schools, transportation, restaurants, and parks, many of which were poorly funded and inferior to those of whites.During Reconstruction, which followed the Civil War (1861-1865), Republican governments in the Southern states were run by blacks, Northerners, and some sympathetic Southerners.The Reconstruction governments had passed laws opening up economic and political opportunities for blacks.Over the next 75 years, Jim Crow signs went up to separate the races in every possible place.The system of segregation also included the denial of voting rights, known as disfranchisement.The National Afro-American League was formed in 1890; the Niagara Movement in 1905; and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.In 1910 the National Urban League was created to help blacks make the transition to urban, industrial life.