The ‘Jim Crow’ Car

The Crisis

Citation Information:

“The ‘Jim Crow’ Car,” The Crisis, v. 1. n. 5. March 11, 1911.

Judge Sanford of the United States District Court has decided that the Interstate Commerce Commission may compel interstate carriers to furnish the same accommodations to for the same price to blacks as to whites, The railroads admitted that there was discrimination in accommodations by attacking the right of the Commission to issue any such order. The Commissioners say that of the railroads do not obey their order they will be compelled to do away with the “Jim Crow” car altogether.

“Indubitably”, says the New York Nation, ” the railways will carry the case to the Supreme Court; if there the decision should be against them, they will doubtless be compelled by public sentiment, in the present temper of the South, to give the accommodations ordered and thus preserve the Jim Crow car. We heartily wish it might be abolished for all time, as a manifestation of prejudice and racial hatred, utterly out of place in a democracy. … No one who has not had to travel in the ordinary Jim Crow car can, we are sure, have any conception of what decent colored people have to suffer every day at the hands of the Southern railways.”

The Boston Post declares that the railroads have brought the trouble on themselves by their neglect of their colored passengers. “The system itself has never been found unconstitutional or illegal; separation is permitted, but—and here is the rub of the whole matter—railroads must give as good accommodations to Negroes as to whites for the same money. That they do not is notorious. The fight is going to the United States Supreme Court, apparently. It seems hardly possible that the tribunal will hesitate to decide that a black man’s money is as good as a white man’s and entitled to an exactly equivalent return.”