Jim Crow


The North is a Paradise, compared with the South. There are no Jim Crow cars there, Negroes often are employed together with white people, doing the same jobs. But they are unable to get an apartment anywhere except in Harlem, though a negligible number live in Brooklyn,* in the Bronx and Greenwich Village. They have to pay exorbitant prices in overcrowded slums, they cannot hire rooms in hotels and they are excluded from most of the restaurants and many other public places — although, every now and then, the managers of hotels and restaurants are fined for excluding them.

The law may say whatever it likes; a few high-minded judges may pronounce judgments inspired by the noblest sentiments; a gradually enlightened and increasingly worried public opinion may try to exercise pressure, but the wall of prejudice seems to be impenetrable. The owner of a restaurant will say to a Negro that all his tables are booked; or if a Negro succeeds in finding a place he will instruct his waiters not to serve him. Should he allow Negroes to eat at his place, he would lose many white clients; should the owner of a house let apartments to Negroes, the price of his estate — and all estates in the neighbourhood — would fall. Should such a danger arise, all estate agents would appeal to the racial pride of the public, organise demonstrations and shout high-minded slogans to save the estate prices. It is true that this treatment of the Negro is against the spirit and the letterof the Constitution and it is true that the Constitution is sacred. But the Dollar is more sacred.

During the war, Negroes were allowed to serve in the United States armed forces but segregation was fully enforced. The Negroes served in separate units and lived in separate barracks. Apart from minor details, the only major exception from the segregation rules was that German and Japanese bullets were not marked: “For Whites Only’.