Social Studies - 2018-19

VUS.8d - Jim Crow Era + Practice of Eugenics in Virginia

The student will apply social science skills to understand how the nation grew and changed from the end of Reconstruction through the early twentieth century by

d) analyzing the impact of prejudice and discrimination, including “Jim Crow” laws, the responses of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, and the practice of eugenics in Virginia;

Adopted: 2015


Unit Themes

Unit Essential Questions


Is there one American Experience?

Economic Systems 

To what extent does the American economy shape the American experience? 

Reform Movements 

How do people affect change in their society?


During the early twentieth century, Supreme Court rulings limited the civil liberties of Americans.

Newly formed organizations began to address segregation and discrimination issues.


Discrimination against and segregation of African Americans 

 Laws limited freedoms for African Americans. 

 After reconstruction, many Southern state governments passed “Jim Crow” laws forcing separation of the races in public places. 

 Intimidation and crimes were directed against African Americans (lynchings). 

 African Americans looked to the courts to safeguard their rights. 

 In Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” did not violate the 14th Amendment, upholding the “Jim Crow” laws of the era. 

 During the early twentieth century, African Americans began the Great Migration to Northern cities in search of jobs and to escape poverty and discrimination in the South. 

 Many African Americans eventually found that the North was not much unlike the South when it came to racial attitudes and its use of subtle ways to enforce the separation of the races.

Responses of African Americans 

 Ida B. Wells-Barnett led an anti-lynching crusade and called on the federal government to take action. 

 Booker T. Washington believed the way to equality was through vocational education and economic success; he accepted social separation. 

 W.E.B. DuBois believed that education was meaningless without equality. He supported political equality for African Americans by helping to form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Practice of eugenics in Virginia 

 Eugenics is the belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human population by discouraging reproduction by individuals presumed to have “undesirable” traits and encouraging reproduction by those who had desired inheritable traits. 

 Eugenics was a movement throughout the twentieth century, worldwide as well as in Virginia, that demonstrated the misuse of the principles of heredity. 

 In Buck v. Bell (1927), the United States Supreme Court upheld a Virginia statute for the sterilization of people considered genetically unfit. Upholding Virginia's sterilization statute provided for similar laws in 30 states, under which an estimated 65,000 Americans were sterilized without their own consent or that of a family member.


Terms & Events

Labor unions




 “separate but equal”

Great Migration



Progressive Movement

Square Deal

New Freedom

Gilded Age

Social injustices



Council Manager




Primary election

Direction election

17th Amendment

Secret Ballot

Haymarket Square Riot

Homestead Strike

Pullman Strike



Sherman Anti-Trust Act

Clayton Anti-Trust Act


19th Amendment

Income disparity


Ida B. Wells

Booker T. Washington

W.E.B. DuBois

Theodore Roosevelt

Woodrow Wilson

Samuel Gompers

Eugene V. Debs

Robber Barons



Knights of Labor

American Federation of Labor

American Railway Union

International Ladies Garment Workers Union


Company town

Court Cases

Plessy v. Ferguson

Updated: May 18, 2018