The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow offers the first comprehensive look at race relations in America between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. This definitive four-part series documents a brutal and oppressive era rooted in the growing refusal of many Southern states to grant slaves freed in the Civil War equal rights with whites. A life of crushing limitation for Southern Blacks, defined by legal segregation known as "Jim Crow" - after a minstrel routine in which whites painted their faces black - shaped the social, political and legal history of the period. In 1954, with the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, the Jim Crow laws and way of life began to fall.
The story of the struggle during Jim Crow is told through the eyes of those who experienced it. Some are historical figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells and Walter White. Others are everyday local heroes like William Holtzclaw, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, Ned Cobb, "Pap" Singleton and Barbara Johns.