Chapter 3 Overview
Segregation in Alabama
Segregation: The act or process of separating a race, class, or ethnic group from a society’s general population. Established by customs and mores, enforced by terror and intimidation, segregation, became the way of life for blacks and whites in Alabama following the adoption of the 1901 Constitution. Segregation by law, or de jure segregation, of African Americans was developed by state legislatures and local lawmaking bodies in southern states shortly after the Civil War.
The Alabama Constitution of 1901 was a long-time in the making and the actions of the delegates were deliberate as they sought once and forever to place and keep African Americans in a state of second-class citizenship. As the Democratic Party gained control of the state government it started slowly enacting plans to make sure that whites ruled in every area of life as they systematically took away all of the gains made by African Americans during Reconstruction. This did not happen overnight but was planned and timed so as to not cause an alarm and bring the ire of the Federal Government down upon the state and local governments. The most egregious act of the delegates implementing new requirements for who could vote. Controlling who could and could not vote ensured the establishment of white rule and the legal institution of segregation in every area of life. “It Shall Be Unlawful . . .” became the watch words that guided every-day life and interactions between people of African American descent and Caucasians. These laws impacted the livelihood of business owners and well as those seeking to transact business with them, and even children wanting to play together.
ORDINANCE 798-F An Ordinance To Amend Section 597 Of The General Code Of The City Of Birmingham Of 1944. S.E.C. 597
Negroes and White Persons Not To Play Together
It shall be unlawful for a Negro and a white person to play together or in company with each other in any game of cards, dice, dominoes, checkers, baseball, softball, football, basketball or similar games. Any person, who being the owner, proprietor or keeper or superintendent of any tavern, inn, restaurant, ball field, stadium or other public house or public place, or the clerk, servant or employee of such owner, proprietor, keeper, or superintendent, knowingly permits a Negro and a white person to play together . . .
Chapter 3 overview from The Future Emerges from the Past, Celebrating 200 Years of Alabama African American History & Culture.