Book Report: Jim Crow Michelle Alexander, the New

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¶ … Jim Crow

Michelle Alexander, the New Jim Crow

What's your gut reaction to this reading?

I was impressed by the support that Alexander was able to collect in proving that African-Americans are still given second-class status. I have heard this claim many times before but never actually saw convincing textual evidence, merely stories and platitudes. Alexander presents the legal regulations in the context of the American economy and the history of labor relations, which helps me understand the powerful interests in favor of this situation.

) Explain at least three things the planter elite class did after Bacon's Rebellion to ensure that white indentured servants/poor and Black slaves would be divided?

The Planter class extended to poor whites greater access to Native American lands, the power to police slaves through slave patrols and militias, and the addition of barriers so that free labor would not be placed in competition with slave labor. These new legal privileges gave poor whites both the privilege and the responsibility to harass their competition, African-American bondsmen.

3.) What is Alexander's argument about the mechanisms used in the Constitution to protect the rights of slave holders?

Alexander argues that Federalism was designed to protect the institution of slavery and the political power of slaveholding states by instituting a system of a weak central government that could not impose its will on individual states. Proportional Representation was also developed with the interests of slaveholders in mind because slaves counted as only 3/5 of a human being for the purposes of determining representation in Congress.

4.) Explain how vagrancy laws worked and how they were an advantage to plantation owners after emancipation?

The vagrancy laws made it a criminal offense to not work. Thus, any freedman had to sign up for any job he/she could find and stick with that job no matter how bad the job was. Plantation owners who had lost their slaves were able to hire back these freedman who had to stick with the job on pain of imprisonment.

5.) Explain 3 legislative achievements of the Reconstruction Era and the gains that resulted for Blacks in the south.

The Thirteenth Amendment, the Civil Rights Act, bestowed full citizenship on African-Americans, which provided the necessary conditions for the operation of other constitutional protections. The Fourteenth Amendment prohibited states from denying any citizen, which now included African-Americans, due process and "equal protection of the laws." The Fifteenth Amendment provided that the right to vote should not be denied on account of race and the Ku Klux Klan Acts prohibited interference with voting, even authorizing the federal supervision of district voting.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Jim Crow Michelle Alexander, the New.  (2010, November 8).  Retrieved August 20, 2019, from

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"Jim Crow Michelle Alexander, the New."  November 8, 2010.  Accessed August 20, 2019.