After the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery, 4 000 000 000 former slaves were free.
But the Southern States disagreed with that idea. In 1866, the Jim Crow Laws legalized racial
segregation in the South: Black and White people were separate in all public facilities such as
parks, restaurants, theaters, cinemas, waiting rooms, drinking fountains, etc....
Black people had to sit in the back of buses and upstairs in cinemas. Black children were not
allowed to attend the same schools as the whites. Signs were put to identify "colored" and
Ironically, there was a set phrase that described that system of segregation: "Separate but
equal". Of course, African-Americans were not allowed to vote.
A white extremist group called Ku Klux Klan was born after the end of slavery in the Southern
States. Members would wear white-pointed hoods and would show the christian cross as the
symbol of their supremacy.
They would organize marches and public lynching of Black people in order to create a climate of terror
among the black population.
The song Strange Fruit sung by billie Holiday in 1939 deals with lynching.
Black people would sing the blues to express their sorrows and hopes for a better future.
Some songs, such as We shall overcome or A change is gonna come (Sam Cooke) became the
symbols of segregation.