Jim Crow deal overcomes railroads’ resistance

“RALEIGH, N.C. — There has been a demand for separate coaches for the whites and blacks on the railroads of this State ever since the war, but the influence of the railroads has been sufficient to prevent the introduction of the ‘Jim Crow’ cars as they are called by the negroes. The argument of the railroads was that separate coaches would add greatly to their expense, and this prevailed with the Legislature and the Railroad Commission until now.

“Last week a resolution before the commission requiring the railroads to provide separate coaches was laid aside in order that the Legislature…  may provide for this new feature in transportation by regular enactment. Some of the railroads have withdrawn their opposition to the ‘Jim Crow’ cars, with the understanding that the second-class fare will be abolished, and the first-class fare reduced from 3 1/4 cents to 3 cents.

“Of course the same accommodations are to be provided for the same money, but it is well known that nothing connected with the race problem so galls and cuts the negro as separate cars. The negro never goes into a second-class car if he has the money  for first-class.

“Here in Raleigh, where the Union Station has a separate room for the negroes, there has been continual opposition and complaint on the part of the negroes. The result of the recent election has settled this matter, and it will be put into law by the incoming legislature….  The white people seem to be in no humor for any delay in carrying out this policy.”

— From “Race Problem on Railroads: The Plan in North Carolina for Running Separate Coaches” in the New York Times (Dec. 18, 1898)


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