Violence Against African Americans

800 Words 4 Pages
The history of violence against African Americans in the South is long, tragic and varied. While this history is made up of many different forms of extra judiciary violence, I would argue that off these acts the lynchings carried out during Jim Crow were some of the most heinous and politically impactful. Seeing brutal images of a town gathered around a hung body provide those studying the political history of the American South with a vivid depiction of what systematic disenfranchisement really meant. These acts of group violence were carried out to maintain the political system of white supremacy. The two states with the highest rates of lynching per capita during the Jim Crow era are Mississippi and Arkansas. (RSS) My goal when researching …show more content…
In Mississippi one of the largest groups that had to suffer under intergenerational rural poverty and political disenfranchisement were the delta farmers. By the turn of the century over half of these farmers were African American. A large portion were also share croppers stuck in a cycle of debt to the land owners. Even those who did own their own land often faced crippling debt because of volatile cotton markets, boll weevil infestations and generally bad agricultural markets around 1900. The land in the delta was often almost completely undeveloped when the first wave of farmers migrated there after the civil war. This meant that all the capital and labor migrant farmers poured into developing this frontier land was lost if they were forced to sell their land due to mounting debts, which many did. (Willis) While the delta region of Mississippi has one of the highest percentage African American populations in the country, this regional poverty ensured that white famers in the region also often faced crippling poverty and debt as well. This rural poverty has left a lasting legacy in Mississippi, where the median income remains the lowest in the country. …show more content…
(Key) Arkansas has always had a high rural population, with a population that was nearly ninety percent rural around the turn of the century and consistently around thirty percent above the national average though the twentieth century. This high level of rural population meant there was limited industrial development throughout the Jim Crow era. During the Jim Crow Era, Arkansas consistently ranked in the top five poorest states in the country, and today is currently at number two. Like Mississippi, the delta region of Arkansas has been consistently one of the poorest in the country. Cycles of land and equipment dept kept many farmers of both races financially vulnerable throughout Jim Crow, and the same crop failures and unstable markets that hit the Mississippi delta also hit Arkansas. The one-party system and wide spread anti-union sentiment meant that government polices to help the poorest of the poor or even the working class were infrequent, especially from the state government. Even during periods of heavy investment by the federal government in programs to help the south the high rates of poverty stayed relatively the same in both the states, with both states consistently ranked among the poorest in the country.

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