South Carolina ETV

South Carolina from A to Z

Segregation



“S” is for Segregation.  Segregation, the residential, political, and social isolation of African Americans, by law and custom was accomplished in South Carolina in the last quarter of the 19th century. The 1895 constitution effectively disenfranchised most black Carolinians. Jim Crow laws were speedily enacted after the US Supreme Court’s decision in Plessy v. Ferguson that established the principle of separate but equal. For black Carolinians, the experience of life in a segregated society was often traumatic. A wide variety of laws set African Americans apart from whites. Blacks sat in balconies in movie theaters, drank from separate water fountains, waited for trains in separate waiting rooms, and sat in the back of buses. The legal proscriptions of segregation were generally accompanied by a socially enforced system of etiquette, which was felt in intensely personal and painful ways by black Carolinians.

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