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"You Better Leave Segregation Alone," From the "Nashville Sit-in Story"


From the "Nashville Sit-in Story: Songs and Scenes of the Nashville Lunch Counter Desegregation"
James Bevel & Bernard Lafayette and the American Baptist Theological Seminary Quartet.
© 1960 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings SFW CD FH-5590

"You Better Leave Segregation Alone" is a parody of a Rock’n Roll song.

Partial Lyrics
"…You better leave segregation alone
Because they love segregation like a hound dog love a bone (bone)
Well I went down to the dance floor
To get myself an eat
Well they put me in the jail
And I said a difficult Speech
You better leave segregation alone
Because they love segregation like a hound dog love a bone…"

 


Jim Crow System

Laws in the South separating African American and white residents proliferated during the 1880s. The 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case created a national yardstick for these statutes. Under this ruling, facilities provided for African Americans were to be separate from but equal to those furnished for whites.

In reality, African American facilities were rarely comparable. The Jim Crow system dominated Southern society by creating separate hotels, restaurants, theaters, barbershops, schools, and playgrounds for blacks. Trains, buses, and streetcars also segregated their passengers by race. Segregation ordinances adopted by some cities even demanded separate water fountains and restrooms in public places. Jim Crow statues relegated blacks by law to second-class citizenship. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and '60s led to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination and segregation in voting, education, and the use of public facilities.

 


Sojourner Truth

Abolitionist and women's rights advocate Sojourner Truth speaking for equal rights for African American women, 1867: "I am above 80 years old, it is about time for me to be going. I have been 40 years a slave and 40 years free, and would be here 40 years more to have equal rights for all. I suppose I am kept here because something remains for me to do. I suppose I am yet to help break the chain."

 

Related Images

Segregation signs from restrooms
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Segregation signs from restrooms

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