The slaying of thousands, the conquering of states, and the destruction of land were all
results of slavery. Back in the twentieth century slavery was a very big issue. Even after slavery
was proclaimed “illegal” there was still segregation. One Man by the name of C. Vann
Woodward, wrote a book about segregation and the Jim Crow laws. The book is titled The
Strange Career of Jim Crow. Jim Crow was a black character in a song-and-dance routine in
1820. The song was called “Jump Jim Crow” and was written by Thomas D. Rice. Jim Crow
Laws were laws that segregated Blacks from Whites in schools, public transportation, theaters,
hotels and restaurants. C. Vann Woodward was born in Vanndale, Arkansas on November 13,
1908. He has a bachelor in Philosophy from Emory University, a M.A. from Columbia
University, and a Ph.D.. from University of North Carolina. He married a women by the name
of Glenn Boyd Macleod. He also had a son named Peter. Sadly, both his wife and son are
deceased. He has written many books in his time. Some of the books are: Tom Watson, Origins
of the New South, The Burden of Southern History, The Battle for Leyle Gulf, Reunion and
Reaction, The National Experience, American Counterpoint, and The Strange Career of Jim
Crow, which was revised three times. He has received many awards such as the Bancrolf
History prize for Origins of the New South, National Institution of Arts and Letters Award, and a
Pulitzer Prize for Mary Chesnut’s Civil War. His most widely read book was in 1955, The
Strange Career of Jim Crow (“Woodward” Contemporary). Woodward has been proclaimed as
“ Historian of the American south” (“Woodward” Dictionary). He has also been called “ the
second generation of the south Renaissance” (“Woodward” Dictionary). His main career was to
study how different races got along with each other in America and in the American south since
the civil war. Woodward was a Professor of history at Yale University. He retired from that
position in 1977 (“Woodward” Contemporary).
Woodwards main purpose in writing The Strange Career of Jim Crow is to show that
racial discrimination did not immediately follow reconstruction but arose in the 1980’s and
continued for the first ten years in the twentieth century. This book was published just as the
civil rights movement was becoming strong. It was not long after slavery had been abolished
that there were laws springing up to create segregation. In this book Woodward tells of stories
of people going out into the south and experiencing segregation first hand. He says that many
people didn’t mind slavery very much because of its benefits. Some of the newly freed slaves
seemed lost on their own and didn’t like that too much but all they really cared about was their
freedom. He also shows how blacks and whites had a better relationship before the 1890’s then
they had after the 1890’s when the Jim Crow laws began to come into play.
My feelings on the book were more aimed towards the “confused”. My goal for reading
the book was that at the end of the book I would know who Jim Crow was, as a man, and what
he did in his life to make it strange. Then half way through the book I realized it was about
segregation, not the man Jim Crow. The book introduced me into a world I knew nothing about.
It told me of the horrible things that blacks had to go through and it makes me sad to know this
information but it has taught me to respect the black people more for what they have gone
through to get to where they are today. I appreciate the knowledge from Woodward about
segregation and I am also happy that I finally understood what I was reading about.