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Roll of Thunder : African American Life in the 1930s: Jim Crow Laws & the KKK

How authentic is Mildred D. Taylor's depiction of African American life in the South during the 1930's in the historical novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry? Let's explore that question in this guide.

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

Below is a trailer for a 4-part documentary about the history of Jim Crow laws in the U.S.  Available on DVD.

Jim Crow Laws and the Black Codes

Jim Crow Laws were statutes and ordinances established between 1874 and 1975 to separate the white and black races in the American South. In theory, it was to create "separate but equal" treatment, but in practice Jim Crow Laws condemned black citizens to inferior treatment and facilities.

Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia

 Samples of Jim Crow Laws

National Park Service - More Jim Crow Laws

Ku Klux Klan

The Ku Kux Klan was founded in 1866 and had extended into almost every southern state by 1870. Its members waged an underground campaign of intimidation and violence directed at white and black Republican leaders. Though Congress passed legislation designed to curb Klan terrorism, the organization saw its primary goal–the reestablishment of white supremacy–fulfilled through Democratic victories in state legislatures across the South in the 1870s. After a period of decline, white Protestant nativist groups revived the Klan in the early 20th century, burning crosses and staging rallies, parades and marches denouncing immigrants, Catholics, Jews, blacks and organized labor. The civil rights movement of the 1960s also saw a surge of Ku Klux Klan activity, including bombings of black schools and churches and violence against black and white activists in the South.  For more go to

Books to Check Out

Trouble in mind : Black southerners in the age of Jim Crow

Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow
by Leon F. Litwack
ISBN: 978-0-3945-2778-9

The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America
by Wyn Craig Wade
ISBN: 978-0-6714-1476-4

Jim Crow America : a documentary history

 Jim Crow America: A Documentary History
by Catherine M. Lewis and J.Richard Lewis
ISBN: 978-1-5572-8894-3

Behind the mask of chivalry : the making of the second Ku Klux Klan

Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan
by Nancy MacLean
ISBN: 978-0-1950-9836-5

American nightmare : the history of Jim Crow

American Nightmare The History of Jim Crow
by Jerrold M. Packard
ISBN: 978-0-3123-0241-2