Oran Z Belgrave Sr.’s book, Jim Crow No Mo,’ offers an emotional perspective on the racial segregation of Jim Crow laws and the harsh realities of racism today.
Belgrave takes his readers on a personal and informational journey through the past, present and future of racism in America. As a certified appraiser, museum founder, professor and member of the African American History Association, he is well equipped with the expertise to closely examine the subject material.
Although his purpose is made clear in the introduction of the book, to display the hatred and ignorance of racism and how it has contributed to hurting the world, Belgrave leaves the body text unbiased and open for reader interpretation.
The book is broken up into three parts: the origins of Jim Crow laws, how Jim Crow laws were abolished and a list of Jim Crow law examples state by state.
As someone who didn’t really know much about the history of Jim Crow laws, I found the first part to be the most interesting and insightful. What also made this portion compelling was the only touch of personal experience Belgrave leaves at the end of the first chapter.
He explains the difficulty his parents had eating at restaurants and how racism affected his own life and getting a job. I wish there had been more touches like this sprinkled throughout the book.
The second part talks about the removal of racism in the public arena with trailblazers like Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson. Belgrave’s organization of the information is logical and concise.
There are also good references for further study throughout the book.
Finally, the longest part of the book is the list of Jim Crow law examples by state.
This is formatted like a timeline, using bullet-points. This section is effective in that it really drives Belgrave’s point, that although the Reconstruction Act prohibited these laws, many states found ways around them until the late 1960s.
This book is not for the faint of heart or easily disturbed because this period of American history can be pretty heart-wrenching.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about Jim Crow laws and the issues it brings up about contemporary racism.