Census Quest: Statistical Information on the History of Jim Crow



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Census Quest: Statistical Information on the History of Jim Crow

Using the United States Historical Census Data Browser at http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/census/, answer the following questions. The Census Browser will explain how multiple selections can be made from the variables listed in the data categories, depending upon the type of browser you are using. Once variables have been selected, click the "Browse [Census Year] Data" at the bottom of the page. The Web site will then display the data by state. To obtain census information for counties within a particular state, select the state and click the "View Counties" button at the bottom of the page.




  1. According the 1870 Census, how many African American men and women over the age of 21 could not read or write? What percentage of the total number of African Americans did this represent?

  2. In 1881 Ida B. Wells moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and taught school in nearby Woodstock, Tennessee. According to the 1880 census, how many whites and blacks lived in Tennessee in 1880? How many whites and blacks lived in Shelby County, which includes the city of Memphis?

  3. Using the 1890 Census, determine how many African Americans were in Kansas in 1870, 1880, and 1890. Which Kansas county had the highest number of African Americans in 1870? In 1880? In 1890?

  4. Wilmington, North Carolina, the site of the 1898 Wilmington riots, is in Brunswick County. According to the 1890 Census, how many "native-born" white men 21 years or older resided in Brunswick County? How many "colored" men 21 years or older resided in Brunswick County?

  5. According to the 1900 Census, how many "colored" farm owners were in Bolivar County, Mississippi (the location of the black community of Mound Bayou)? Did any other counties in Mississippi have more "colored" farm owners than Bolivar County?

  6. According to the 1910 Census, how many black people and white people lived in Phillips County, Arkansas (the site of the 1919 riots that NAACP Walter White investigated)?

  7. According to the 1920 Census, how many native white men and women, African American men and women, and foreign-born men and women lived in Cook County, Illinois (which includes Chicago)?

  8. Using the 1930 Census, determine how many acres of land were farmed in Talapoosa County, Alabama (where Ned Cobb led the Sharecroppers Union). How many acres of land were farmed by tenants? By cash tenants? By all other tenants?

  9. According to the 1940 Census, which non-Southern State had the greatest number of African Americans? How many "owner-occupied dwelling units" were lived in by African Americans in this state?

  10. According to the 1950 Census, how many young people between the ages of 14 and 17 were enrolled in schools in Prince Edward County, Virginia (where Moton High School students helped to initiate one of the cases that became Brown v. Board of Education)?

After our discussion in class, answer the following questions:

    1. Identify three (3) conclusions which can be made from the Census data regarding the history of Jim Crow. First, provide the data that you will be using and then explain your conclusions.



    1. How might the results of Question One, regarding African American literacy rates in 1870, be used to support the educational goals of Booker T. Washington or W.E.B. Du Bois?


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