Date Approved

2009

Degree Type

Campus Only Thesis

Department

History and Philosophy

Committee Member

Philip Schmitz, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Robert Perry, PhD

Committee Member

Steven Ramold, PhD

Abstract

A significant portion of the literature exploring the history of Jim Crow in America has been geographically situated upon the South, where Jim Crow ostensibly had its most profound and pernicious presence. As a consequence, studies on the existence of Jim Crow in regions such as the North have been limited and, to some degree, have produced a widely-held assumption that the North was not only more racially tolerant than the South but also uncommitted to the practice known as Jim Crow. However, a recent examination of collegiate sports in America has yielded quite a different reading of Jim Crow’s presence in America, particularly in the North. The scrutiny of incidents involving black athletes at northern institutions has provided empirical evidence to buttress the certainty that the North, like the South, also engaged in or capitulated to the practice of discriminating against blacks. In many cases, black athletes at institutions like the University of Michigan, New York University, Ohio State University, and other northern universities countenanced racial segregation at its worst, often being withheld from sporting competitions or, in some cases, participation on various sporting teams. This thesis seeks to survey these experiences that black athletes countenanced at the northern universities in order to enlarge upon the larger idea that Jim Crow existed in the North.

In addressing Jim Crow’s existence in the North, this thesis has relied upon a sampling of primary sources from the period as well as historical texts that have sought to address the subject. In conjunction with historical research, this thesis has drawn upon the scholarship of a vast number of individuals, most notably C. Vann Woodward, in both probing and proving the de facto practice of Jim Crow in the North.

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