January 25, 1907
THE "JIM CROW" BILL.
One of the mischievous measures that ought to be summarily killed is what is known as the "Jim Crow" bill, introduced in the Missouri legislature by Representative Holcomb, of Jackson county. The bill provides for seperate accomodations for negroes and whites on all railways and street cars. It is practically the same bill as the one originaly introduced by the late Colonel Crisp many years ago, and some like measure had bobbed up in every legislative session since Crisp's time.
The bill is unnecessary as applied to the railroads, inasmuch as public sentiment regulates the matter better as it is than could possible be accomplished by legislative enactment. In fact, the incorporation of the idea into a state statute may undo the existing satisfactory status and provoke judicial proceedings which might have precisely the opposite results from those which it seeks to reach. In this case the maxim particulary applies. Let well enough alone.
In the matter of street railways the measure is particularly vicious and mischief breeding. Experience in such cases teaches that the plan of separating the whites and blacks on street cars is impracticable in enforcement, full of annoyances and productive of continual conflicts between passengers and street railway employes. It is especially notorious that while the negroes as a rule offer little opposition to the arrangement, the white passengers refuse to keep in the limits of the space provided for them on the cars, and whenever they are crrowded they invade the section set apart for the other race.
Waiving all questions of principle or considerations of personal preference, the fact remains as a condition and not a theory that the "Jim Crow" car bill would do more harm than good if it should pass. The legislature will do the wise thing by followng the example of its predecessors and let the measure sleep in a committee pigeonhole.
Labels: race, railroad, streetcar