Definition: Jim Crow laws, or Jim Crow for short, maintained racial segregation in the South beginning in the late 1800s. Under Jim Crow, whites and blacks drank from different water fountains, used different bathrooms and sat separately on public transportation and in restaurants. Jim Crow owes its name to a 19th century minstrel song called “Jump Jim Crow,” popularized by a minstrel performer named Thomas “Daddy” Rice who appeared in blackface.
Also Known As: segregation, apartheid
In the Jim Crow South, blacks were forced to sit on the back of buses, a practice Rosa Parks famously challenged.