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Identifying the effects of segregation and "Jim Crow" on life in Virginia for whites, African Americans, and American Indians.



  • In this lesson, students will learn how segregation and “Jim Crow” laws affected life in Virginia.

  • Review Reconstruction and remind students that African Americans, because of their newly won freedoms, had earned equal rights – the rights to vote and to hold office.

  • Introduce the term segregation as the separation of people, usually based on race or religion.

  • Read from teacher-selected books on segregation. Explain and remind students that some Virginians and some Confederate leaders resented the fact that African Americans now had the same rights as white people, so Virginia and other southern states passed laws that took away the rights that African Americans gained during Reconstruction. These laws were called “Jim Crow” laws. They separated the races and reinforced prejudices held by whites.

  • Show Virginia Pathways Episode 5: Civil Rights, segments 1 and 2.

  • On a sentence strip or 8- by 12-inch poster, write “Jim Crow” Laws. List effects on separate strips of posters and discuss each one with students. Post in the classroom for quick reference, and review the effects “Jim Crow” laws had on African American life. Unfair poll taxes and voting tests were established to keep African Americans from voting. African Americans found it very difficult to vote or hold public office. African Americans were forced to use separate drinking fountains. African American and white children attended separate schools.

  • Explain cause and effect. Write a paragraph explaining the results of the "Jim Crow" laws. How did this affect the lives of African Americans? Could this time period affect the attitudes of people today?

  • Use the following Web sites for student research:
    The Origin of Jim Crow at: http://vastudies.pwnet.org/pdf/jim_crow.pdf

  • Create a class or student group time line of events that occurred in Virginia during the time of "Jim Crow."


Produced by Prince William County Public Schools in collaboration with
the Virginia Department of Education. All rights reserved. Filnet Inc.
Updated on August 11, 2008.